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On frozen tofu

將豆腐凍一夜,切方塊,滾去豆味,加雞湯汁、火腿汁、肉汁煨之。上桌時,撤去雞、火腿之類,單留香蕈、冬筍,豆腐煨久則鬆,面起蜂窩,如凍腐矣。故炒腐宜嫩,煨者宜老。家致華分司用蘑菇煮豆腐,雖夏月亦照凍腐之法,甚佳。切不可加葷湯,致失清味。

Freeze the tofu overnight, cut it into cubes,[1] boil in water to remove the odour of soybeans, and simmer with chicken, ham, or meat sauce. When serving, remove the chicken, ham, etc.; leave only the shiitake mushrooms and winter bamboo shoots. [The texture of] tofu will loosen up after a long simmer, with a honeycombed surface, like frozen tofu. It is therefore better to use tender tofu for stir-frying and firm tofu for simmering. The Branch Office of my [cousin] Zhihua cooks tofu with mushrooms, following frozen tofu recipes even in summer; the taste is wonderful. Never add pungent broth, or the delicate flavour will be lost.

 

* Yuan Mei 袁枚 (1716-1798), Suiyuan shidan 隨園食單 3.16a-b: https://ctext.org/library.pl?if=gb&file=33455&page=29.

 

[1] This indicates that the tofu may not be fully frozen after a night, probably due to the freezing methods available at the time in the Jiangnan region. The following text clarifies that the method introduced here will produce results similar to cooking with properly frozen tofu. 



Album leaf showing men working on icehouses, by Zhang Shichen 張師誠 (1762-1830)

Image credit: National Palace Museum, Taipei

 

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