Tofu-stuffed tomatoes (番茄豆腐盅)

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.

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.

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.

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.

Juicy tomatoes are hollowed and steamed with well seasoned tofu crumbs, then served with a sweet and sour sauce made from the pulp of the tomatoes.

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”.

Juicy tomatoes are hollowed and steamed with well seasoned tofu crumbs, then served with a sweet and sour sauce made from the pulp of the tomatoes.

Juicy tomatoes are hollowed and steamed with well seasoned tofu crumbs, then served with a sweet and sour sauce made from the pulp of the tomatoes.

Tofu-stuffed tomatoes (番茄豆腐盅)
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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size: 6 persons as a starter

Tofu-stuffed tomatoes (番茄豆腐盅)

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.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
  • For the stuffing
  • 200g / 7oz firm tofu
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped (see note 1 & 2)
  • 3 slices ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground Sichuan pepper
  • For the sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch, mixed with 2 teaspoons water

Instructions

  1. Stand the tomatoes on a chopping board. Slice the tops off the tomatoes. Scoop out the pulp with a small spoon (keep it in a bowl for later use).
  2. Drain the tofu then crumble it with your fingers (or with a fork). In a bowl, mix the tofu, chopped shiitake mushroom, ginger and all the seasonings for the stuffing.
  3. Fill the tomato shells with the stuffing mixture. Top up the tomatoes with the remaining stuffing to form a nice round top.
  4. Place stuffed tomatoes into a steamer (see note 3). Cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
  5. While waiting, prepare the sauce. Discard the hard lumps in the pulp of the tomatoes. Keep the juice (and the seeds). Heat up the oil in a sauce pan over a medium heat. Stir in spring onion then fry until fragrant. Add the juice, soy sauce, vinegar, rice wine, salt and sugar. Bring it to a boil. Pour in the starch & water mixture (stir well beforehand). Cook until the sauce has the desired thick consistency.
  6. When the stuffed tomatoes are cooked, place them onto serving plates. Pour the sauce over. Sprinkle some chopped spring onion as a garnish if you wish (see note 4).

Notes

1. How to rehydrate dried shiitake mushrooms: soak them in cold water for at least 8 to 12 hours (depends on the size) until very soft. Trim and discard the stem before chopping.

2. I use dried shiitake mushrooms for its unique aroma. You may substitute them with other mushrooms (preferably wild ones). It’s also a great idea to use minced meat or chopped raw prawns to replace mushrooms.

3. If you don’t have a steamer to hand, you can use a regular wok to achieve the same effect. Here is the procedure: Place all the stuffed tomatoes onto a plate. Put a small bowl in the middle of a wok. Fill the wok with hot water (lower than the bowl). Place the tomato plate on top of the bowl. Cover the wok with a lid then steam (I used the same method to cook “Steamed pork ribs with butternut squash”).

4. Serve warm either as part of a Chinese meal or as a western style starter.

https://redhousespice.com/tofu-stuffed-tomatoes/

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 national dish of China “Tomato and egg stir-fry” and classic Sichuan dish “Authentic Mapo tofu“.

Wish you every success in your kitchen!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

Other recipes featuring tofu or tomato:

Mapo tofu, the authentic way (麻婆豆腐)

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. 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.
Juicy tomatoes are hollowed and steamed with well seasoned tofu crumbs, then served with a sweet and sour sauce made from the pulp of the tomatoes.

Tomato and egg stir-fry (番茄炒蛋)

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