Dou Fu Nao (豆腐脑, Beijing-Style Tofu Pudding with Gravy)
5 from 5 votes
Sharing a street-style recipe for dou fu nao, a classic breakfast in Beijing. The extra soft tofu pudding is served with a brown gravy, made with pork, dried lily flowers and mushrooms, for a satisfying savory and earthy umami. Serve it with you tiao (Chinese fried donut) and you’ll have a hearty Northern-style Chinese breakfast that will warm your soul.
Gently rinse the dried lily flower buds, wood ear mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms with tap water and transfer them into three bowls. Add 1/2 cup hot water to each bowl to cover. Let soak until tender throughout, 30 minutes or so. Once done, squeeze out the marinating liquid back into the bowls and gently rinse them with tap water again to remove any dust on the surface. Slice the shitake mushrooms. Cut the lily flowers in half. And chop the wood ear mushrooms into small pieces. Reserve the marinating liquid from the shiitake mushrooms and lily flowers for the gravy.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorns. Cook, stirring occasionally, until you can smell a strong fragrance and the peppercorns turn darker (but not black). Scoop out the Sichuan peppercorns and discard them (*Footnote 1).
Add the rehydrated lily flowers, shiitake mushrooms, and wood ear mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute or so. Be careful, the rehydrated ingredients might cause oil splatter.
Add the white part of the green onion. Cook and stir for 30 seconds to release the fragrance.
Move everything to one side of the pan and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the other side. Add the ground pork on top of the oil, then use a spatula to spread it out. Let the pork cook for a minute without moving to brown the bottom, then cut it into small pieces.
When the pork is cooked through, pour in the Shaoxing wine and scrape the pan to release any brown bits.
Pour in the light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Stir to coat well.
Add the water and the reserved 1 cup of soaking water. And the chicken bouillon powder. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the pan. Stir to mix well and let cook until the sauce thickens. Taste the gravy and adjust the seasoning by adding a pinch of salt, if needed.
To serve, scoop the tofu pudding using a large spoon (the larger and flatter, the better) into two serving bowls. If too much liquid is pooling in the bowl, tilt the bowl carefully to drain off the excess liquid (it’s OK to have some liquid in the bowl). Ladle the gravy on top of the tofu pudding. Serve immediately.
You can reserve the Sichuan peppercorns for other dishes as well. To use them, grind them into flakes and store them in an airtight container in the fridge. You can use them on noodles, vegetables, and salad as topping to add flavor.
The nutritional facts below are only an estimate because the nutritional information for some of the specialty ingredients was hard to find.