Both spicy tofu soup recipes featured here use preserved vegetables instead of chilli or chilli oil for the heat factor.
This is a continuation from my "What is Tofu?" article and focuses on spicy tofu soups. Do you know that tofu goes very well with spices and heat?
四川榨菜 (Si Chuan Zha Cai) and kimchi are preserved vegetables.
四川榨菜 (Si Chuan Zha Cai) is the stem of a knobby mustard. It is salty, spicy, slightly tangy and quite crunchy. It is julienned thinly or chop finely before being added to dishes. Nobody eat it in chunks.
Kimchi is napa cabbage pickled whole It is almost always spicy. It is sliced into large pieces before serving. It is not as salty as 四川榨菜. I once met this Korean girl at a youth hostel in Taiwan. She told me that she left a jar of homemade kimchi in the refrigerator and that I am welcome to it. I found it strange until I was told that many Koreans never leave home without some homemade kimchi.
Both can be eaten on its own as side dishes to rice or congee. They can also be used to flavour dishes. They go especially well with tofu in soup.
1. Sichuan spicy tofu soup
I found this hot and sour soup with chicken and tofu in Everything Bean Curd! by Betty Saw. I was flipping through the book at the public library and this recipe caught my attention. Besides the hot and sour soup, there are many other interesting tofu recipes in the book.
Betty is considered a celebrity chef in Malaysia. She has written a few cookbooks mostly on Chinese and healthy cooking.