This is my adaptation of a famous Buddhist dish
“The original recipe calls for many obscure dried Chinese vegetables, but my version uses vegetables that are readily available. I like to add a little coriander, which Buddhists do not eat. Deeply satisfying, this casserole is suitable for both summer and winter. I prefer to cook it in a Chinese clay pot, but you can also use a small cast-iron pot. Take care not to overcook the vegetables. The casserole may be made in advance and reheated very slowly. It is delicious with rice, noodles or fresh bread.”
225g (8 oz) fresh bean curd
100g (4 oz) broccoli
100g (4 oz) Chinese leaves or white cabbage
10g (4 oz) small courgettes
100g (4 oz) red pepper (about 1) sliced
100g (4 oz) mangetout, washed and trimmed
450ml (15 fl oz) groundnut or vegetable oil
600ml (1 pint) chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons whole yellow bean sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Cut the bean curd into 2.5cm (1 in) cubes and drain on kitchen paper. Next, prepare all the vegetables. Separate the broccoli heads and break them into small florets. Peel and slice the broccoli stems. Cut the Chinese leaves or cabbage into 2.5 cm (1 in) hunks. Slice the courgettes into rounds 0.5 cm (1/4 in) thick. Thinly slice the pepper. Leave the mangetout whole, but trim the ends.
Heat in a wok over a high heat, until it’s very hot and add the oil. Alternatively heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer.
When the oil is very hot and slightly smoking, deep-fry the bean curd cubes in two batches. Drain each cooked batch on kitchen paper.
Put the chicken stock or water, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and whole yellow bean sauce into a large, cast-iron enamel pot or Chinese clay pot and bring it to the boil. Next, add the broccoli and stir in the Chinese leaves or cabbage. Boil for 2 minutes. Add the courgettes and pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally, add the mangetout and the bean curd cubes. Cook for 1 minute more then stir in the fresh coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper. Finally stir in the sesame oil and the dish is ready to serve.
To reheat, bring to a simmer on a very low heat until all vegetables are hot.