Thursday, September 9, 2010

Red-Scented Pork Delights With Unexpected Flavor From … Tofu??

Thank you to all who went over to the Marx Foods Blog to vote for the 5 Star Summer Makeover 10.  Voting is open until Sunday for any who have not voted and are so inclined.

Today I turn LC over to one of the smartest bloggers out there.  Jessie from The Happiness in Health is freshly back from an amazing stint studying at Peking University, a trip that took her to Beijing, China and Hong Kong.  She chronicled her awesome trip on her blog, sharing with us the sights, sounds and most importantly the tastes she experienced.  The Happiness in Health is exactly what the name says, a health conscious blog with great food and sharp, witty writing.

Also contributing to this blog is Jessie's husband Peter, AKA the MacGyver of the Kitchen.  Do not take my word for it, check out his DIY Sous-Vide Cooker.

Please check out The Happiness in Health one of the blogs on my weekly reading list.


Welcome to Guest Post Spotlight Thursday

Hello, Lazaro Cooks! readers! Jessie from The Happiness in Health here! As I’m relatively new in the blogging world, I suppose I should introduce myself by describing myself in one sentence. Well, here goes:

Omnivorous girl living minimal lifestyle who nevertheless struggles to close fridge door due to massive numbers of specialty food products and husband-cooked items; also: CHEESE.

Before I go any further, a huge thank you to Lazaro for asking me to guest post. I am honored :)

For those of you who have read my blog, you’ll know that I recently returned from a trip of a lifetime to Beijing, China and Hong Kong. While I was abroad for 6 weeks, I tasted anything I could get my hands on (I was also studying at Peking University, but that experience pales in comparison to REAL CHINESE FOOD). Since my return to the U.S., I’ve been attempting to recreate my favorite Chinese dishes at home, such as this “cafeteria-style” hand-shaved noodle dish.

Another favorite dish I enjoyed in a Hong Kong dim sum restaurant was pork with fermented tofu sauce. Ladies and gents, the original:

Like many Asian dishes, this pork dish contained a higher ratio of bones-to-other stuff than I prefer. Keeping this preference in mind, could I make this dish better? Why yes, yes I can.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about fermented tofu.

Also known as fermented bean curd, fermented tofu is preserved in vinegar, rice wine, and salt and has a pungent, slightly spicy flavor. The tofu is often used on its own to flavor rice and other bland foods. When cooked into other dishes, such as this pork dish, other ingredients are used sparingly so as to highlight the tofu’s flavor. You can find fermented tofu at your nearest Asian grocery store. If you’ve never set foot in an Asian grocery, I invite you to expand your food boundaries by checking out one. Not only is much of the food super cheap, the new, exotic flavors will be sure to inspire you!

Now, for the recipe: if you’ve checked out the recipes at my blog, you’ll notice I have a fondness for wacky awesomely creative recipe names, such as Salmon Swims Through Pineapple-Tomato Chutney and No One Messes with Triple P! (Protein-Packed Pesto). Why break the pattern now?

Red-Scented Pork Delights With Unexpected Flavor From … Tofu??

And for those who prefer a more traditional recipe name:

Pork Tenderloin in Fermented Tofu Sauce
Serves 4

2 Tbsp canola oil
1.5 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into medallions (no bones allowed!)
¼ cup sherry
¼ cup Asian wine vinegar (another excuse to check out the Asian grocery)
3 cubes red fermented tofu
2 ¼-inch disks peeled ginger
½ cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Note: Since tenderloin is a lean cut of pork, I decided to braise the medallions in order to retain their juiciness. If you use a fattier pork cut, feel free to try baking, broiling, or frying.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat canola oil in heavy, oven-proof saucepan over medium-high heat. Sear pork medallions on both sides for about 30 seconds per side.

Add sherry and wine vinegar to pork, cover, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until center of medallions reach 160°F. Alternatively, cut a few medallions open to make sure they’re cooked through.

Remove saucepan from oven and return to burner. Take out pork with tongs or slotted spoon to a waiting plate. Heat saucepan on low heat and add chicken broth, ginger, and soy sauce. Use your stirring spoon to “smoosh” the red tofu into the sauce until the sauce is smooth. The sauce should be thin. If you prefer a thicker sauce, let the sauce cook down before placing your pork back in the saucepan and letting all the flavors mingle. Serve with your favorite rice. Mine happens to be a combination of brown rice and black forbidden rice (also conveniently found in your local Asian grocery store).

The finished dish, with a side of cruciferous-ly delicious steamed cauliflower.

Thanks again, Lazaro!

For more, please check out Jessie's fantastic blog The Happiness in Health.


  1. Jessie,

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful dish with us. Love the combo of rices. Big bold flavors really wake the pork up.


  2. Aww Jessie I love you more and more each day! Thanks Lazaro for hosting such an awesome blogger!

    Jess, your intro to yourself is adorable. Sums you up perfectly. And this dish. Um hello delicious!

  3. Wonderful dish here cant wait to visit her blog, thanks Lazaro

  4. The combination of tofu sauce and pork sounds very intriguing, would love to try this!

  5. This is the perfect dish for my family. My children really loves pork and Chinese food. I will most certainly check your blog!

  6. I need to visit an Asian Market and stock up on some cheap, exotic foods. Fermented soy is the only soy we really SHOULD be eating. So this is great!

    Fun recipe!

  7. Thanks Lazaro for introducing me to another great blogger. I love this reicpe - it looks and sounds so delicious.

  8. Jessie, what a wonderful dish! You know I'm not a pork fan but I truly appreciate that you shared this recipe with us cause 1. I love fermented tofu, 2. Hubby IS a pork fan, and 3. even though I don't eat pork, I don't want to deprive my hubby and kids from eating pork. So thank you for sharing this dish with me so I could try making them something you love and I know they will love too. Can I also add that I totally love the jar your fermented tofu came in!? Now that is authentic stuff! Wonderful dish my friend!

    Lazaro, thank you for having Jessie on here. She is by far one of the sweetest and most sincere bloggers I've been lucky enough to meet in the blogosphere. Another fantastic guest post!

  9. Thanks for this opportunity, Lazaro! I am so happy to be here :)

  10. Hi Jessie, nice to meet you. First, welcome back. Second, that pork fermented tofu sounds ridiculously good! I use the fermented tofu quite a bit to stir-fry. Guess what, I just bought black glutinous rice the other day and will cook it tonight. ha. Great minds think alike!

  11. Wonderful guest post...and great dish :)

  12. You know, it really is good stuff, tofu. But you just need to know how to use it, and you obviously DO!! GREAT POST! Anita

  13. I don't eat much pork, but this I would definitely try! Fermented tofu imparts fantatsic flavor, if you can get over the startling smell LOL Thanks Jessie for sharing a simple but stunning recipe.

    Thank you Laz for inviting the lovely Jessie to your wonderful blog :)

  14. Great dish. Must look for fermented tofu next trip to my Asian market. Thanks.

  15. Welcome, Jessie! What a scrumptious dish. :-) I'm a cheese fiend too! Mmm, so many varieties to make life beautiful. :-)

  16. Great guest post! Jessie is such a sweetheart and her meals always look incredible. I'll have to look for fermented tofu I bet it brings so much flavor to this dish!

  17. wow, well... I don't eat meat but this looks fantastic! Great job :) And Lazaro? Another great pick for a guest blog... good job to you too :)

  18. I follow Jesse's blog - and enjoy it a great deal. I also learned something new again today, as I always do reading her posts: what black forbidden rice is.
    A great read.

  19. When I shop at my local Asian market, i often take home many unfamiliar items. I absolutely cannot wait to try fermented tofu. Tomorrow after work I am shopping.

  20. I loved everything I sampled when I was in HK and you have me craving that food in a bad way. I cannot wait to give this dish a try. Thanks so much for sharing the recipes.


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