Our latest mystery find at the Chinese grocery store was these small vacuum-sealed packages. My first guess was that they were probably some sort of tofu snack, but I had to check with one of my students to confirm this.
It seems that I was correct!
Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is a component in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way (such as this one). In this form, ultra-dense blocks are stained a deep purple/brown with seasoning (usually Chinese five spice powder), and then baked and compacted into tight cubes. It closes the circle of tofu preparation, as a dry tofu—like soft silken— requires little to no cooking. On it’s own, dry tofu has a rubbery feel, but its chewy texture plays well with anything soft. Chop it up, toss it into a noodle or brothy curry dish, and enjoy. In these little packets, they are meant to be eaten directly from the packaging, as a quick snack.
Main ingredients: soybean texture protein, water, vegetable oil, salt, chill, white pepper powder, spices, sugar, food additives, etc. How To Prep: No prep needed, simply remove package and go.
It probably safe to assume that this is the Asian version of processed meat (although they certain do have a vast array of processed meat here too – more on that in another post!). Tofu is high in protein and Chinese people swear by it’s health benefits. We haven’t tried these particular packages, since they look a little too processed for our liking, but we (Elijah and I, not Justin) do like some forms of dry tofu. Especially in soups and hot pot.