To eat or not to eat? Weird tofu
April 8, 2013 4:45 AM   Subscribe

A naive shopper sent to the Chinese market to buy dried tofu ended up with something labeled as dried tofu but it is not really dry and it is long and skinny. It smells a bit funny even in the packaging. What can I do with it? How can we eat it? The Chinese characters for it are 筍茸.
posted by whatzit to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
 
Looks like what you have there is bamboo shoots, possibly pickled in some way. Delicious! I'd cook them in a stir-fry.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


No knowledge of Chinese on my part but here are dictionary entries:
posted by XMLicious at 4:54 AM on April 8, 2013


Yes, I agree with a Thousand Baited Hooks! Use it in stir-fry. What kind of dried tofu were you actually looking for? Maybe I can suggest what to seek the next time you head to the market.
posted by Yellow at 5:46 AM on April 8, 2013


Good question, Yellow. I don't know as the shopping list was made by our Shanghainese guest, who said the dried tofu we got was not at all what she wanted and she did not know how to cook it. She knew what she was doing for sure, but not with this particular product.

What I have looks like this (page) not this.

If anyone has some specific stir-fry suggestions or still other recipes, I am all ears and chopstick-ready. The meal is set for Thursday night.
posted by whatzit at 6:38 AM on April 8, 2013


That looks like shredded bamboo shoots or ends or trimming of bamboo shoot. Given translation errors and common grey-area translation "mistakes" to overcome tarrifs and export/import restrictions I would probably deemphasize trying to translate the printing and focus on the product's texture and taste.

I would probably stir fry it spicy with soy and chili oil/flakes and sesame oil. Might pair well with chicken or pork. Maybe also add some green onion or scallion or garlic chives.

You might also add firm tofu or tofu skins (which was what I originally thought you were talking about).

If they are pickled like A Thousand Baited Hooks says they're likely lightly pickled with a slight fermentation smell/taste.

Looking for recipes, I found this article on Menma on Wikipedia, which uses the same ideographs so I think this is what you have.

Searching on that phrase or the Chinese or Japanese in the Wikipedia article may yield you more recipes.

Disclaimer: I'm an American half-Chinese non-Chinese speaker/reader very much interested in Chinese culture/cuisine/philosophy. If you find someone who's a Chinese speaker/reader who answers your questions you may want to listen to them more.
posted by kalessin at 10:56 AM on April 8, 2013


Are you sure it's not dried tofu skin, aka yuba? It's long, rolled up sheets of the skin that forms on top of soy milk as it cools. Maybe that's what you asked for, so you know that's not what you got, but that's what it looks and sounds like to me. (And every package of yuba I've ever bought has an off-putting, funky smell. It goes away after you soak/rinse it.)
posted by mudpuppie at 3:49 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wrote a whole long thing and it didn't properly send.

So here it is again...

What you purchased is bamboo shoots, but julienned. You can use it in any stir fry that you want. Cut up peppers (red, yellow, green and slice them like smiles,) sliced mushrooms, julienne chicken, or beef (or a non-meat protein) and stir fry. Marinate your protein in soy sauce, pepper, salt, a pinch of sugar, oil, sesame oil and a little corn starch. The marinate should coat but not be too watery. Keep in mind that bamboo shoots are a little tart, so don't use too much of it.

Enjoy!
posted by Yellow at 5:38 PM on April 8, 2013


Oh man, I am an idiot. I realize nearly a week after posting this I put the word TOFU in the question and title when I meant BAMBOO and fully knew it was bamboo. Way to make an AskMe helpful... I'll fix the tags. *sigh*

The bamboo in question is in a picture here still in its packaging and perhaps you can even read the French translation. I ended up doing a ma bo tofu type sauce, but with mushrooms and bamboo instead of pork and tofu, based on your comments (despite having the wrong ingredient named).

What that means is browning ginger and garlic in sesame oil, then adding a hoisin sauce (cheating) and dried red pepper. (Meanwhile, the mushrooms are sweated.) Start cooking the bamboo. Add soy sauce, sugar, some chicken stock or chicken bouillon, and corn starch. Put the mushrooms back in. Top with chives and green onions sliced fine.
posted by whatzit at 12:22 PM on April 12, 2013


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