In this preparation, freeze-dried tofu is first simmered in chicken broth to absorb its rich flavor. The tofu is then stir-fried with red and green bell peppers in a sauce spiced with a very popular adopted Chinese condiment, toban Jiang, chile-bean sauce. Use red chile pepper flakes if chile-bean sauce is not available.

  • 1/4cupdried black kikurage, soaked in cold water
    for 20 minutes
  • 2 koyadofu (freeze-dried tofu) cakes
  • 1red hell pepper, stem, seeds, and ribs removed
  • 1green bell pepper, stem, seeds, and ribs removed
  • 2 cupschicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons plus2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1thumb-size piece ofginger, peeled andjulienned
    1/2to 1teaspoon toban jiang (chile-bean sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon sake (rice wine)
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons shoyu (soy sauce)


Drain the kikurage, cut off and discard the tough stems, and cut the remainder into thin strips. In a medium bowl of warm water, soak the freeze-dried tofu until it is softened, 2 minutes. Drain it, and squeeze it to remove excess water.

In a medium pot of boiling water, blanch the red and green bell peppers for 30 seconds, then plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking. Drain them, spin them or wipe them dry, and cut them into thick 2-inch-long strips.

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, add the freeze-dried tofu, and cook the tofu in the broth, partially covered, for 10 minutes.

Drain the tofu, reserving the cooking broth. Cut the tofu cakes in half lengthwise, then cut each piece crosswise into Vs-inch-thick slices. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil, and, when the oil is hot, add the ginger. Cook, stir ring, for 30 seconds. Add the chile-bean sauce, and cook, stirring, for 10 seconds. Add the kikurage, bell peppers, and freeze-dried tofu, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add V4 cup of the reserved chicken broth (save the rest for soup), the sake, and the sugar, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the shoyu, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and serve.

Yields 2 servings as a light main dish or 4 servings as a side dish

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