The Insufficient Kitchen

Stir-Fried Spinach With Red Fermented Tofu

from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Every Grain Of Rice

Serves 2 as a side dish or the IK as the entire meal

cooking time: about 5 minutes

Note: red fermented tofu is available at Chinese markets or online at 99 Ranch Market

10-11 ounces fresh spinach

2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced, to equal about 2 teaspoons

1/2 fresh hot chili, or to taste; see notes

2 cubes or about 1 tablespoon of red fermented tofu

1/4 teaspoon sugar

about 3 tablespoons peanut, sunflower, or canola oil

salt, if necessary (unlikely, as the tofu is salty)


Wash the spinach, if necessary and trim any long, thick stems.

Place a large pot of water on to boil. Add the spinach, just wilting it momentarily. Remove spinach with Chinese spider or tongs to a strainer.

Mash the tofu and sugar together in a small bowl. Stir in just enough juices from the jar–about a spoonful-to make the mixture creamy (see photograph in blog post).

Put a wok or wide, non-aluminum frying pan on high heat and add the oil. Get the oil hot, then add the garlic and chili. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the fermented tofu and stir. Add the spinach and stir-fry for a few minutes, allowing ingredients to meld. The spinach will cook down and throw off a great deal of purple liquid, which you can either pour over your rice or leave in the wok.

Taste for salt, which you probably won’t need, then decant into a bowl and try not to eat it all by yourself in the kitchen.

Stir-Fried Spinach With Fermented Red Tofu is wonderful with rice. It’s great as part of a Chinese meal, of course, but it also works beautifully as a vegetable dish in a Western meal.

Stir-Fried Spinach With Fermented Red Tofu keeps, refrigerated, three days in a covered container.

Notes: I used about half of a habanero chili when I made this. It was extremely fiery. Use more or less, to your taste.

Dunlop notes you can also make this with white fermented tofu and water spinach, which is sold in Asian markets.

The Insufficient Kitchen © 2015