Last week was a rough week for me. I felt like I was running a marathon – swamped with the amount of work and also frustrated at the fact that teaching jobs in the public system are so hard to get.
My mom always provided comfort to my brother and I when we were having bad days. I definitely inherited my mom’s ability to worry about things, but when we were stressed, she had her ways of making us feel better. Her cooking always provided comfort.
I also inherited my mom’s love for noodles and noodle soup. For me, nothing is more comforting than a bowl of soup with rice noodle or braised tofu with noodles.
I bought a variety of tofu from New City Supermarket in Kitchener. My husband is not a big fan of tofu. Although he would eat tofu when served, he would choose meat over tofu when presented with both. I wanted to see if a different type of tofu would change his mind.
Braised 滷 lǔ
It means to cook with thick sauce. It is often written as 魯, which sounds like 滷. Soy sauce is usually the main ingredient in the sauce. Generally the mixture is cooked with low heat over a long period of time. Spices often used in the sauce include star anise, orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon, and fennel. For this recipe, I used packaged five spice powder. In many of Taiwan’s night market, you will see stalls selling 滷味 (braised flavour); common varieties of 滷味 include duck meat, goose meat, chicken wings, tofu, pig’s ear, beef entrails, beef brisket, duck gizzard, eggs, and kelp.
Dried tofu 豆乾 dòuɡān
This kind of tofu is extra firm because the moisture has been pressed out of the tofu. This is often used in braised flavour. You can slice the tofu and serve it cold or on top of noodles.
Fried tofu 油豆腐 yóudòufu
This variety of tofu is a firm tofu fried until the outer layer is golden.
I received a “it’s ok” from my husband.
It was a perfect comfort meal for me. The stir fried Taiwanese bok choy (baicai) complemented the braised flavour well.