Tofu Soup with Watercress [ 西洋菜豆腐羹 ] is a light and tasty dish I would like to pair with a meat dish like Sweet and Sour Spareribs [ 糖醋排骨 ]. It balances the richness of the ribs. As I mentioned in the Spare Ribs post, I can make use of the stock from that dish to enhance the flavor of tofu soup. If I plan to make the ribs for one meal, I will make sure that I also put in a bunch of watercress and a box of soft Tofu to my shopping cart.
西洋菜豆腐羹 — 克难版 荠菜豆腐羹 — 青出于蓝而胜于蓝
荠菜豆腐羹, 清淡却鲜美有加, 口感细腻润滑, 充分体现了淮扬菜的特色. 可新鲜荠菜不是时时处处可得. 于是因时因地制宜选用西洋菜来代替荠菜. 荠菜以清香为见长. 但比起荠菜, 西洋菜更加嫩臾, 不仅清香, 鲜美, 而且它的梗富有清脆的口感. 结果原本仅为权宜之计的克难版西洋菜豆腐羹, 却又演绎了一回青出于蓝而胜于蓝的佳话：）
将嫩豆腐放于案板上, 切成薄片(约2mm左右, 越薄越好) (图1). 用手将豆腐薄片抹开, 尽量平铺于案板上, 再改刀切成细丝(约 2mm左右,越细越好) (图2). 将豆腐细丝放入装满水的容器里养着(图3).
锅中放入大半锅冷水, 烧开, 放入少许盐和油, 将西洋菜放入稍烫一下, 立即取出, 放入冰水中.
将西洋菜取出, 挤去多余的水份. 切成细末. (越细越好) (图2).
小心将嫩豆腐丝容器里的水倒掉, 将嫩豆腐丝倒入锅中, 用勺背小心将嫩豆腐丝推散.加入盐1小勺, 糖少许.
烧开后, 立即将西洋菜细末倒入锅中, 用勺背推散., 再烧开后, 立即倒入水生粉, 推匀.
立即离火, 淋入香油, 洒上白胡椒粉, 拌匀。 盛出.
这道菜， 刀功，刀法会直接影响最后成菜的味道. 豆腐切丝要尽量切细。 如果豆腐切成粗丝或块状, 口味口感会有很大不同.
西洋菜放入开水中稍烫一下, 立即取出， 浸泡在冰水中. 煮烫时间稍长, 就会发黄, 不仅影响美观, 也影响味道.
西洋菜在中国超市或西人超市都可找到. 而且它的味道很象荠菜, 但又比荠菜鲜嫩多汁. 而且价格合理, 一年四季都可以买到.
Tofu Soup with Watercress
Soft Tofu: half box
Watercress: 1 bunch (about 150g)
Salt: 1teaspoon (or to taste)
Sugar: pinch (optional)
For the slurry: 2 tablespoon of potato starch + 2 tablespoon of water - mix together
Sesame oil: 1teaspoon (or to taste)
White pepper powder: pinch
Place tofu on chopping board, cut into 2mm slices (the thinner the better) (pic 1). Then cut into 2mm shreds (the thinner the better) (pic 2). Place tofu shreds in cold water (pic 3).
Boil half pot of water, add some salt and vegetable oil, add in watercress when water boils, leave the pot uncovered. As soon as the water boils again, take out the watercress.
Transfer blanced watercress in ice water until it cools down.
Take out the watercress, squeeze out of excessive water.
In a pot, add two cups of stock and two cups of water, bring to boil.
Remove tofu shreds from cold water, add tofu to the boiling pot carefully. Loosen tofu with back of spoon. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar.
When the liquid starts boiling again, add in the minced watercress, Loosen watercress with back of spoon.
Stir in slurry as soon as the pot boils again, until the soup is getting thicker .
Take the pot away from the heat. Add in 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and pinch of white pepper powder.
Cut the tofu and watercress as thin as possible so that the final soup will taste smooth and silky. Cutting them to a different shape and/or thickness will not yield the same good taste.
Adding some salt and vegetable oil in the pot while blanching watercress helps to retain the fresh green color of watercress
Do not boil watercress too long, just enough to get it wilt. Otherwise, it will lose the fresh green color.
Use the back of a spoon to loosen the tofu and watercress, so that it won’t break the delicate tofu shreds.
For the slurry, the starch may separate from water and sink to the bottom of the container after sitting for a while . If this happens, just stir/mix them to even consistency before adding it to the soup.