Today, I will bring you to my root, my Asian root with this delicious melt-in your-mouth dish, the Silken tofu casserole with vegetables and minced meat.
After a week or two of cooking Mediterranean food, having pie and roasted meat, I felt like the Asian part inside me woke up and brought me back to my root. As a Vietnamese, we need rice every day as much as the German or French need bread. Many times, I wondered how I could survive without rice for a week or two.
How did it all start? We moved in to live with my parents-in-law for the first over two years after we moved back to Sydney. Despite the fact that, my mother in-law is seriously a great cook and she was the only cook and only chef in our family kitchen and I really appreciate to have her cooking good food for us everyday but I honestly have to admit that it was a hard time for me.
Switching from Vietnamese diet which uses rice and lots of vegetables especially the green leave ones with lots of fresh herbs, clear soups and small quantity of meat to another diet, a mixture of Middle eastern and Mediterranean daily diet with bread, yogurt lots of root vegetables and much bigger portion of meat, lentils, bulgur and beans and lots of beans together with many dried spices is really a challenge. However, probably without having that time, I would have not had an opportunity to understand, to learn as well as to appreciate and to love Turkish food. Without that time, It would probably have taken me much longer time until I could discover the great source of the awesome food ingredients of the Mediterranean to enrich my cooking creativity and quality.
However, let’s come back to bringing some Asian flavor to our dinner table that night. Let’s start with silken tofu. Silken tofu is made from soy milk and used a lot in Japanese cooking as well as Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai dishes. It does not only have a beautiful pudding-like quality but also is very light in texture with a wonderful, creamy mouth-feel and fatty flavor. Not only that, Silken tofu is low calorie, contains no cholesterol and is an excellent source of protein as well as iron, and calcium. It can be served cold, at room temperature, warm, or hot as a no-cook dish, used in soups or purees, casserole and desert.
In this silken tofu casserole dish, I combine silken tofu with vegetables (red capsicum, eggplant, mushrooms, spring onion, onion) and minced meat. It is a variation of a Vietnamese or Chinese silken tofu casserole dish (does not contain vegetables) which my mum used to cooked for us when we were younger. I love to have this with white steam rice as the rice soaks up all the beautiful flavor from the sauce and give a wonderful melt- in-your-mouth texture. Last but not least, I hope you enjoy it and will try to make it one day.
serves 2 – 4
prep time: 10 minutes cooking time: 22 minutes
total time: 32 minutes
- 1 box of 300 gr silken tofu
- 200 g of minced meat (can be either beef, veal, pork, chicken or mixed)
- 50 g dried shiitake mushroom
- ¼ cup black fungus or just a few
- 1 big eggplant
- ½ big red capsicum
- 1 medium size onion
- 2 sprigs of spring onion / shallot
- black pepper to sprinkle
- 3 table spoons oyster sauce
- 1 table spoon fish sauce
- 3 table spoons vegetable oil
- 1 table spoon of corn starch
- cut the eggplant in to small cubes and boil for 10 minutes to get rid of the acid from the eggplant, then drain, rinse under the cold water, set aside
- while boiling the eggplant, soak the dried shiitake mushroom and black fungus in hot water for 5 minutes, wash with water then thinly slice shiitake mushroom, black fungus, the onion, red capsicum, chop the spring onion / shallot in to ½ cm length
- cut the silken tofu in to small cubes
- add the vegetable oil into a hot sauce pan and add the onion in let sim for 2 minutes then at the high medium heat add the minced meat in, stir thoroughly until the meat does not have the red colour then reduce the heat to medium
- add the shiitake mushroom and black fungus in and stir for 1 minutes then add in the eggplant and red capsicum and half of the spring onion / shallot. Add the oyster sauce, and fish sauce and black pepper in and stir thoroughly, let sim at low medium heat for about 7 minutes until all the ingredients absorb the taste from each other
- add the silken tofu, spring onion / shallot in and gently and thoroughly stir to mix all the ingredients. Let sim for about another 5 minutes
- mix the corn starch well with a little cold water and gently stir in the main ingredient sauce pan. Gently mix and cook at high medium heat for about 3 minutes. Put on a deep plate and sprinkle with the rest of spring onion / shallot
TIP: serve best with steam white rice