Chinese steamed silken tofu with ginger and scallions

January 6, 2010

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Serves 4

At Rice Valley in Newton, cooks use silken tofu, which they steam with shreds of ginger and scallion. Then they bathe the cubes in hot soy sauce and chicken broth. You don’t need a wok or steamer. Use a deep 12-inch skillet and round cake rack. Serve with white or brown rice.

1 block (12 to 14 ounces) silken tofu
1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chicken stock
2 scallions, cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon canola oil
1. Have on hand a large deep skillet (12 inches) with a lid. Place a 6-or-8-inch cake rack in the skillet. Add enough water to come up to the rack. You will also need an 8-to-10-inch heatproof plate or glass pie pan.

2. On a cutting board, halve the tofu horizontally; cut each half into 6 pieces to make 12 total.

3. With a wide spatula, gently transfer the tofu to the plate. Scatter the ginger on top. Set the plate on the cake rack.

4. Cover the skillet. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and steam the tofu for 4 minutes (check to make sure there is enough water in the skillet; add more if necessary). Turn off the heat and uncover the pan. With one end of a dish towel in each hand, carefully transfer the plate from the skillet to a heatproof surface on the counter.

5. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the soy sauce and chicken stock until it starts to bubble gently. Turn off the heat and spoon the sauce around the tofu - not on top. Scatter the scallions on top.

6. Wipe out the saucepan. Heat the oil for 1 minute or until it starts to shimmer. Carefully pour the oil into a soup ladle. Drizzle the hot oil over all the scallions. You’ll hear them sizzle and they’ll wilt slightly and release a delicious aroma. Serve with white or brown rice. Adapted from Rice Valley restaurant in Newton.