Mr Hau's tofu

By stephenhau

6th Dec 2010

Category: Food and cookery

  1. 1
    Red chilli
    For colour and a kick. If you can't take the heat, remove the seeds (or get out of the kitchen). These are just hot enough. Cut it into pieces about 3mm thick.
  2. 2
    Spring onion
    Also known as salad onions. Cut 2 of them into pieces about 5mm thick.
  3. 3
    Choi sum
    Mmmm, choi sum. Of course, this is for illustration only. You'll need more than this. Buy a bag of it at any Chinese supermarket.
  4. 4
    Finely chopped. I used about 3 cloves with choi sum for 2 people. Vary according to how antisocial you're feeling.
  5. 5
    Finely cut ginger.
  6. 6
    Inspired by...
    I'm a freak for grids. This is inspired by Ikea & Carl Kleiner's "Hembakat är Bäst" book. Finn (thanks!) brought me one from Sweden. Ikea really need to release this elsewhere.
    Click here for's tear down...
  7. 7
    Firm tofu. Cut the block down into small slabs using a very sharp wet knife. It's a good test of your knife and handling skills. Fail, and you'll end up with broken tofu.
    Any Chinese/Asian supermarket. I got this at Lai Loi in Deptford.
  8. 8
    Oil and soya sauce
    Just vegetable oil and light soya sauce. I swear by Pearl River Bridge gold label - avoid the cheaper ones, they're just salt. You need about 2 parts oil, 1 part soya. Quantities? I don't know. Enough to be about 3-5mm deep in a milk pan.
    PRB gold label: getting harder to find. SeeWoo is my trusty supplier.
  9. 9
    3 parts American long grain, 1 part Thai fragrant.
    SeeWoo - in 20kg sacks.

December, month of excess! Occasionally, you need a break to detox – look! no meat! – so here's an easy recipe that makes a good healthy meal for two: tofu, choi sum, and rice. I'll assume you know how to cook rice (what? you don't?).

This is what it will look like...

The tofu will look like this.

I didn't get a photo of the choi sum, but it will look much like this (minus the chillies).


  1. Firstly, get the sauce going: Oil and soya sauce as described in the tag. Put it on the lowest heat, and make sure it doesn't bubble.
  2. Cut tofu into slabs, and leave to sit on a plate for about 15 minutes, draining off excess water regularly.
  3. Put some vegetable oil in a frying pan, and bring to full heat.
  4. Slide the tofu slabs into the pan, and gently keep them moving to avoid them burning to the pan.
  5. When lightly browned, flip the slabs then lightly brown the other side.
  6. Place the cooked slabs in a bowl, and now we'll finish the sauce.
  7. The oil and soya sauce should be hot (not bubbling!) by now – simply add the chopped chilli and spring onion, swirl around, then pour the lot over the tofu.

Choi sum

  1. Cut the choi sum – stems and all – into pieces approximately 8cm long, wash them in a collander, and leave sitting in water.
  2. Finely chop garlic, and cut some ginger into shreds.
  3. Get your wok (of course you've got one), add a splash of vegetable oil, and turn the heat up to full power.
  4. When it's hot, add the garlic and ginger.
  5. Just before the garlic or ginger starts browning, tip the choi sum from the collander into the wok.
  6. Add a generous splash of soya sauce, cover the wok, and leave to cook for about a minute.
  7. Then add a few drops of pure sesame oil and stir.
  8. Check occasionally whether it's cooked to your liking (just take a piece out and try it...).
  9. Optionally, stir a teaspoon of cornstarch into  2-3 tablespoons of cold water, then stir the mixture in to the choi sum to thicken the sauce.
  10. Pour into a bowl, and serve.


Choi sum photo by FotoosVanRobin.

Recipe courtesy of Dad and a billion Chinese people.

Labels in this post: tofu, rice, garlic, oil, cooking, ginger, chilli, vegan, vegetarian, recipe, food, Ikea, Chinese

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Post a comment

  • Beryl

    6 December 2010, 19:03

    This is brilliant..... please can you send a take away? I want a Vietnamese raw beef recipe now........

  • stephenhau

    6 December 2010, 22:03

    I should stick to dishes I've cooked. That means my next recipe post should be either my steamed sea bass, or the infamous Spam - any votes?

  • Mrs T

    7 December 2010, 08:03

    yum! i always forget about this dish yet it is one of my favourites!
    *adds to meal planning list*

  • Beryl

    7 December 2010, 20:16

    There's only one answer. Spam Spam Spam Spam, Spam Spam Spam Spam.

  • Robin

    7 December 2010, 22:18

    What a cute way to photograph your chili! I think I will copy that, I really love it.

  • stephenhau

    8 December 2010, 09:30

    @Robin: "Copy"?! Creatives are "inspired by"! Yes, please copy, I mean, be inspired by it, and share your recipe here :)

  • fritzthecat

    12 December 2010, 22:37

    I agree, top photo

    And I'll nick the recipe too, thank you very much!

  • Darren

    16 March 2011, 15:13

    Nice recipe book:

  • Anonymous

    29 March 2011, 18:16


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