Red tofu chicken

Red tofu chicken

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

Fermented tofu smells funky, there’s no two ways about it, but it gives food a rich, full flavour in the same way a good sharp cheese does. In fact, the fermentation process gives the tofu an almost creamy, dairy-like texture. Here it’s mashed into a marinade to impart a smooth, mellow flavour to the meat that’s only made more delicious by deep-frying.


Quantity Ingredient
700g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 pieces red fermented tofu
1 tablespoon tofu liquid
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons clear rice wine
1/2 teaspoon five-spice
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
rice flour, for coating

Cucumber and lychee salad

Quantity Ingredient
16 fresh lychees
2 lebanese cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons clear rice vinegar, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Trim the excess fat off the thighs and cut the chicken into 1.5 cm pieces. Combine the tofu, tofu liquid, garlic, rice wine and five-spice in a large bowl. Use a fork to mash the tofu as finely as you can, and mix to form a smooth paste. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the salad, peel the lychees, then cut them in half and remove the seeds. Place the lychees and cucumbers in a bowl. Heat the oils, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan, swirling the pan to combine well, then pour over the cucumber and lychees. Toss to combine well, then spread the salad out on a serving platter.
  3. Bring the chicken to room temperature. Fill a wok one-third full of oil and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns deep golden in 15 seconds. Toss the chicken pieces in the rice flour, shaking off the excess. Deep-fry the chicken in two batches for 3–4 minutes, or until golden and crisp and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove and drain on paper towel. Transfer the chicken to the platter with the salad and serve immediately.
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