Even though Yuye and I are both from mainland China, we sometimes have quite different eating habits. For example, as he’s from northern China, he tends to eat a lot of dumplings, buns and congee with his stir fries and other dishes. Whereas my family and I tend to just eat it with rice and instead of dumplings we eat wontons. Shanghainese food tend to be a bit lighter, a bit sweeter and perhaps a bit more sour as well compared to food from Beijing.
Another thing that is different is breakfast. According to Yuye, people from Beijing eat a lot of this dish called Dou Fu Nao, its literal translation is “tofu brain”, I suppose it might have came about from its appearance. It is a light soupy dish made with tofu, peanut butter, coriander and soy sauce. It’s not a dish we eat in Shanghai, although we do have a tofu dish that we eat for breakfast which tastes very different.
As I love peanut butter, I fell in love with this light meal instantly and Yuye has made it many times since. This love for peanut butter might run in the family as my mum would literally scoop a small bowl of salted peanut butter and eat it with her congee in the morning. Whenever I walk past the bowl, I’d steal a little spoonful of that nutty goodness. I’d even deliberately walk past just to have a mouthful, until mum noticed that her peanut butter was disappearing! I know it might be hard to comprehend but I enjoy these little self indulgences.
It is a very healthy, refreshing and easy to make recipe. You can add as much or as little of each ingredient as you like.
• 200g silken tofu
• half bunch coriander, chopped to roughly 1cm lengths
• 1 tbsp cornflour
• 1 tbsp chilli paste
• 1 tbsp oyster sauce
• 2 tbsp light soy sauce
• 1 tsp chicken powder
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
• 1 egg
• 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1. Combine peanut butter with 2 tbsp of cold water and stir until smooth. Set aside.
2. Add chicken powder, soy sauce, oyster sauce and ginger to 1 litre of boiling water and boil on medium high heat for 3 minutes.
3. Dissolve cornflour in 1 tbsp of cold water and add to soup.
4. Beat egg and stir into soup. Reduce heat to medium.
5. Using a spoon, break tofu into large chunks into the soup. Salt to taste and simmer for 3 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat, and stir in sesame oil.
7. Top with prepared peanut paste, chilli and chopped coriander and serve.
For added flavour, try frying the ginger along with 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 1/2 a thinly sliced spring onion before adding stock.
Question: What kind of things do you normally eat for breakfast? Is it quite different to your partner?