Northeastern Cuisine: Tofu Stew with Salted Mustard Greens

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
April 10, 2017Food
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Northeastern Cuisine: Tofu Stew with Salted Mustard Greens

Salted mustard greens, or xue cai, is a popular and common pickled vegetable used in northeastern cooking. They can add great flavor when cooked with ingredients such as pork, noodle or tofu. Tofu Stew with Salted Mustard Greens is an everyday dish served in northeastern China. It is nutritious, delicious and easy to make.

Tofu Stew with Salted Mustard Greens Ingredients:

  • Pork
  • Ginger
  • Salted mustard greens (xue cai)
  • Tofu (one block)
  • Soy sauce
  • Soup stock
  • Oil
  • Star anise

Tofu Stew with Salted Mustard Greens Directions:

  1. Cut pork and ginger into slices.
  2. Cut tofu block into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Cut salted mustard greens into approximately 3-centimeter segments.
  4. Add a couple of star anise to the wok. Add a little oil. Then, add pork and ginger slices. Stir fry briefly.
  5. Add salted mustard greens to the wok, stir fry the mixture.
  6. Add some soy sauce and soup stock.
  7. Turn up the heat and let the mixture cook for a while.
  8. Turn the heat back down to medium, add tofu cubes to the mixture, and stir gently with the spatula.
  9. Add a little more soup stock. Turn up the heat again and let everything cook until the tofu cubes have absorbed all the flavors from salted mustard greens and the other ingredients.
  10. Adding salt is optional. You can taste the dish at this point to see if salt is needed.
  11. Scoop everything into a plate and the dish is ready to serve.

Tofu Stew with Salted Mustard Greens Tips and Culture:

Salted mustard greens (xue cai or xue li hong, also sometimes called “snow cabbage”) is a preserved vegetable made from Chinese mustard greens, or more specifically, little mustard greens (xiao jie cai). Note that xue cai differs from suan cai, or sour pickled Chinese cabbage.

Chef Alex Zhong, who demonstrates this dish for us, has nearly thirty years of experience in northeastern cooking. He is the head chef at “Asia” restaurant in Allentown, PA, and the Silver Medalist at the First International Chinese Culinary Competition hosted by NTDTV.

Chef Zhong was confident in making this dish and said that Tofu Stew with Salted Mustard Greens is a must-know for every northeastern chef. He stressed that many people have the misconception that the northeast region of China, or “Dongbei”, is not rich in natural produce and food varieties. But that’s not the case. On the contrary, the Dongbei region has a wide range of food items and natural produce, but unfortunately, many are not widely known or passed down. Chef Zhong expressed his wish to introduce more great authentic local dishes to foodies outside of China. He felt that as a Chinese chef living in a foreign land, he shares in this responsibility to bring quality Chinese dishes to a broader audience.

 

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