There aren't may British people I know that like tofu. Complaints that it doesn't taste of anything are then reinforced with a texture problem which in turn is ballasted with the hippy-dippy-health-food-barefoot-vegan-meat-replacement notion.
Well, you're all wrong.
Tofu has a delicate flavour, but that flavour's definitely there and besides what's the beef with flavour anyway when you usually put it with something nice and punchy? As for the texture, if you don't like the wobbly, delicate jelly-like feeling of soft tofu, there's nothing I can do about that except feel sad for you. Or suggest you chow down on deep fried tofu puffs - you can stuff them or braise them and both ways they are lovely.
Once you get over the wibble fear, you should make this. The sauce that drenches the warm tofu is addictive and spicy, slightly sour, quite salty and a little sweet. A hint of Sichuan peppercorn makes the tongue tingle, while the crunch of preserved vegetable and spring onions is a nice contrast to the smooth and silken tofu. A dish of stir-fried greens and another of stir-fried chicken completed the meal nicely, though I found myself abandoning the latter dishes and smooshing the tofu and sauce into my rice alone.
Hot & Sour Tofu
Serves 4 with other dishes
1 box of silken soft (not extra soft) tofu
1 tsp dark soy
1 tsp Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp light soy
1.5 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp chilli oil (2 of the oil, 1 with sediment)
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 spring onion
2 tsp Tianjin preserved vegetable, rinsed well
1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground into powder
A small handful of coriander
Drain the tofu and place it carefully on a plate. Steam for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, roughly chop the coriander and slice the spring onions and leave to one side. Heat the cooking oil and fry the garlic on a low heat, taking care not to burn it. Drain the garlic and place in a bowl. Mix in the soy sauces with the vinegar, sugar, chilli oil and oyster sauce with a tsp of water. Mix well and pour carefully over the freshly steamed tofu. Garnish with the preserved vegetable, Sichuan peppercorn, spring onions and coriander and serve with rice while warm.