Juicy tomatoes are hollowed and steamed with well seasoned tofu crumbs. These tofu-stuffed tomatoes are then served with a scrumptious sweet and sour sauce.
This is a recipe I created originally over a decade ago when I was living in Beijing as a single girl who rarely cooked any proper meals. Out of the blue, I decided to have a dinner party in my apartment with my best girlfriends and wanted to cook something unusual for fun. In one of the dishes, I used two common ingredients: tomato and tofu. Instead of chopping them into pieces as Chinese cooks usually do, I stuffed the tomatoes with well seasoned tofu crumbs. It turned out to be a success. At least, my friends were quite impressed by my creative idea.
In Chinese cuisine (especially home cooking), tofu is commonly paired with tomato. You can find them in stir-fries, braised dishes, salad or soup. My original tofu-stuffed tomatoes was a salad. The flavour was good, but I found the texture of raw tomato didn’t go very well with that of the tofu. So I improved the dish by steaming it. The tomato stays in its shape, but changes in its texture. And I noticed the steaming process helps the different flavours (from tomato, tofu and various condiments) to combine better. Later on, I started adding shiitake mushrooms to the filling which brings a particular aroma to this dish.
The development of my tofu-stuffed tomatoes didn’t stop there. The concept of gravy in Western cuisine inspired me to make use of the pulp taken out of the tomatoes. I used white rice vinegar and sugar to enhance the natural “sweet & sour” taste of tomatoes. Adding of soy sauce and Shaoxing rice wine provided an distinct feature of Chinese cuisine to this dish. At this stage, I felt it was finally a complete recipe to share.
When you purchase the ingredients, I suggest that you look for ripe, juicy tomatoes and Chinese-style firm tofu. Dried shiitake mushrooms are recommended, but you may replace them with other mushrooms of your choice Adding minced meat or chopped prawns to the tofu stuffing also works well and are equally delicious!
For steaming tip (if you don’t have a regular steamer), please check my previous post on “Steamed pork ribs with butternut squash”.
I hope you find my tofu stuffed tomatoes appealing. If you like these two versatile ingredients, don’t forget to check out my recipes on the national dish of China “Tomato and egg stir-fry” and classic Sichuan dish “Authentic Mapo tofu“.
Wish you every success in your kitchen!