Red bean curd is also known as red fermented bean curd (Chinese: 紅腐乳, 南乳, 玫瑰腐乳). Chinese people have been eating fermented bean curd for more than a thousand years. There are different kinds of fermented bean curd and they can all be used in different ways. But this article is only focusing on red bean curd.
Red bean curd is a type of preserved bean curd, that consists of cubes of bean curd that has been preserved in rice wine, fermented red rice/red yeast rice and other seasonings. They can sometimes be seasoned with chili.
Red bean curd usually has a strong taste and smells of alcohol and people like to use this to marinade their meat or poultry then deep fry or slow cook it. The red bean curd can give meat a special alcohol aroma and the bean curd helps to tenderize the meat so once prepared the meat in the dish will be very tender and soft.
I personally think red fermented bean curd’s flavour is mellow, sweet but has a stronger alcohol taste compared to white fermented bean curd. White bean curd tastes sharper, saltier, stronger and for myself is very moreish.
Fermented bean curd is sold in jars in Chinese markets. There are many different brands but Fu-Chung is the most popular brand in North America, which contains quite a bit of sauce in the jar along with the cubes. In Chinese cooking, a small amount of fermented bean curd is used to add flavour to everything from rice and congee to vegetable stir-fries and braised dishes.
The influences of Chinese immigrants in in Hawaiian cooking is seen in the fact that Hawaiian recipes for Char Siu are often made with red bean curd (as in the recipe below).
The other recipe is “Chinese Style Deep Fried Chicken Wings”. In this recipe I use white fermented tofu. But you can use red fermented tofu instead.
Char Siu (Roast pork)
Edited by Liv Wan.
One of the most popular dish that use red fermented tofu as a key seasonings ingredient is “Braised Pork Belly with Red Fermented Bean Curd”. This dish is also one of my personal favourite.
700g (1 ½ pounds) Pork Belly
5-7 small size bok choy for garish
3 thin slice ginger
1 spring onion, cut it to half
2 cloves of garlic, slice it
750ml (1 1/5 pints)
4 cubes of red fermented tofu
4 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or rice wine
60ml (2 fl oz) light soy sauce
½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon corn flour/ potato starch
1 tablespoon water
- Boil a big pot of water and slice pork belly 3-4cm thick.
- Blanch the pork belly for 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain. Discard the water.
- Cut the pork belly into cubes. Leave aside.
- Blanch bok choy in boiling water and leave aside.
- Heat up a wok with 1 tablespoon oil and add ginger, spring onion and garlic into the wok and stir-fry until it’s aroma. Add sugar into wok and wait for it to melt.
- Add pork belly into step 5 and turn down the fire to medium-low heat. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer everything into a stockpot.
- Put red fermented tofu, shaoxing rice wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce in a bowl and mix them evenly and add it into step 7.
- Add water into step 7 and bring it to a boil first then simmer for 1.5 hours. You can add water if you think it’s a little bit dry.
- Mix corn flour with 1 tablespoon water and stir in step 9 to thicken the sauce if it’s necessary. Garnish with bok choy and it’s ready to serve.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours