I won't lie to you; red fermented tofu bloody stinks. I opened the jar and had a tentative sniff and I almost decided not to go through with this recipe. When frying it, it transformed. It's similar to the kind of stink you get from frying shrimp paste - ultimately you know something delicious will come of it.
This is not my recipe, but that of Sunflower's. I've adapted it to fit in my pot and my belly.
Braised Pork & Potato with Red Fermented Beancurd
Serves 2, or 1 generously
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
Splash of light soy sauce
Pinch of ground pepper
3 fist-sized potatoes, cut into chunks
60mls vegetable oil
1 Asian shallot, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 slices of ginger
1 square of red beancurd
1 tsp five spice
Splash of Shaoxing cooking wine
1 tsp sugar
1 stalk of spring onion, chopped (optional)
Mix the belly pork with the soy sauces and pepper. Leave to marinate while you prepare everything else. Heat up the oil in a wok until almost smoking. Carefully add the potatoes and fry until browned on all sides - this will take about 10 minutes. Put the potatoes to one side. Pour off the oil, leaving 1 tbsp left. Fry the garlic, shallot and ginger until fragrant. Open the windows, add the beancurd and mash the cube up. Add the pork, leaving the marinade in the bowl, and fry until browned (once again, this will take about 10 mins). Add the wine, the 5 spice and any excess marinade. Bring to the boil, then place the wok contents in the claypot or any other suitable oven proof pot. Add the potatoes in, and then enough boiling water to cover at least the meat. Put the lid on, and stew for 1.5 hours. Here I put it in a cold oven and turned it on to 170 degrees.
The pork becomes meltingly tender. The potatoes hold their shape due to the initial frying, but they also soak up all the flavours of the stew. They're very strong flavours, and less is more with this dish. I think I might prefer it with white rice rather than potatoes - but then I'd always prefer rice.