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Simple Hunan-style Tofu

Simple Hunan-style Tofu

Hunan or Xiang cuisine encompasses the cooking traditions of the western Hunan Province, Xiang River region, and Dongting Lake area in China. It is famous for hot and spicy flavours, aromatic and deep coloured dishes. Depending on your needs, this quick and simple hunan-style tofu can easily be made vegetarian/vegan or gluten free.


4 servings

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed, sliced (thick slices)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 3 scallions, roughly sliced
  • 1-2 chili peppers (fresh or dried), finely sliced
  • 1 cup vegetable/ chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup fermented black beans
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
  • 3 tbsp vegetable/peanut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp cold water


  • Bring vegetable/ peanut oil to high heat in a frying pan or wok. Add the tofu slices and fry 2-3 min on each side, until golden brown. Remove from the pan onto a plate with a kitchen towel to drain the oil, and set aside.
  • Remove excess oil from the pan, leaving about 1 tbsp and return to stove. Bring to high heat again and add the ginger, garlic, chili and scallions. Cook 1 min until fragrant.
  • Add fermented black beans, stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, and cooking wine. Bring to a boil.
  • Slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer 5-6 min, until sauce thickens.
  • Bring the fried tofu back to the pan, and heat through.
  • Serve Hunan style tofu straight away while still hot, decorated with more chopped scallions and chili.


Tips: you can substitute soy sauce for tamari (gluten free) or oyster sauce, and replace/ supplement the fermented beans with shiitake mushrooms and toasted cashew nuts. Try this Hunan style tofu recipe with a bowl of basmati or whole grain rice, and an edamame bean side salad.