The idea of a Chinese casserole is to combine a variety of ingredients, cooking them together such that the flavors can mingle together. The key to making a good casserole is the control of the amount of liquid and the use of just the right amount of flavorings. The result should be that there is a small amount of liquid left, such that the ingredients do not feel dry. If there is too much liquid, it will feel more like a soup and the flavors will taste washed out.
Fried tofu has all the characteristics that makes it easy to be cooked well in a casserole: 1) it can be cooked for a long time without breaking apart 2) it easily absorbs colors and flavors, and 3) its mild flavor blends easily with many different ingredients. It is no wonder that it is a very common ingredient in Chinese casseroles.
- 2 slices ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 pieces of fried tofu
- 1/2 cup broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup wood ear
- 2 cups napa cabbage
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup of vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- Soak wood ear in hot water and let sit for 20 minutes. Clean and remove any hard parts with scissors.
- Blanch fried tofu in large pot of boiling water for 20 seconds. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil in pan. Add ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add in fried tofu and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Add 1 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add cabbage and wood ear, bring back to a boil under high heat, then cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
- Add broccoli, bring back to a boil under high heat, then cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix corn starch with 2 tablespoons of water. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture in the casserole, stir lightly.
- Transfer everything to a preheated clay pot. Sprinkle sesame oil to serve.