Andrew Wong’s secret ingredient: fermented bean curd

·1 min read

Fermented bean curd is about as close as we get to cheese in China. Basically, it’s tofu soaked in a mixture of salt and chilli. Traditionally, in its purist form, people eat it with congee and use it as a condiment.

My grandpa used to eat it on toast - but I wouldn’t recommend that as it’s really, really strong and it can almost corrode the top of your mouth.

It’s very salty; umami in its purest form. I use it a lot in my cooking, especially in vegetarian dishes where we can’t use oyster sauce. We cook it out with some stock, ginger, garlic, and make a sauce. The combination of vegetables, garlic, chilli and fermented bean curd creates a really deep meaty flavour.

In the restaurant, we have a dish that is barbecued leek with a sauce made from fermented bean curd. We also use dried bean-curd sticks in the dish, then we put a deep-fried fritter on top with some pickled daikon. It adds an incredible curd-y texture to dishes as well.

It’s quite soft - it kind of coats your mouth like cream and creates this umami flavour. Use it like a stock cube.

Andrew Wong is chef-owner at A Wong, London SW1

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting