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Boiled tofu strips

Updated: 2020-12-24

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Dazhu Gansi [Photo/VCG]

Dazhu Gansi, or boiled tofu strips, is a specialty dish of the Huaiyang cuisine.

Gansi is another traditional and reputable specialty that can be found in almost any restaurant in Yangzhou. They look like noodles, but are actually a type of shredded dried tofu. Gansi is always cooked with either chicken soup (dazhu gansi) or soybean sauce (tang gansi).

As for dazhu gansi, bamboo shoots, green vegetables and shrimps are added to steaming chicken broth, adding both flavor and vibrant colors to the dish. 

Chefs slice dried tofu into matchsticks and serve it with chicken stock. Other ingredients are added as shown in the picture, such as sliced ham or sea cucumber.

The challenge to chefs is to conduct exquisite knife-work of high precision, just like surgeons. An anecdote has it that the dish was created to serve Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) while he was traveling to Yangzhou.

Different from dazhu gansi, tang gansi is made by pouring boiling water on the thinly sliced dried tofu three times and then adding soy sauce, sesame oil, small dried shrimp and shredded ginger on top as a dressing.

Tang gansi is a little bit saltier than the boiled version. It also distinguishes itself with a stronger fragrance of beans and the intense aroma of the sesame oil, which is more likely to stimulate people's appetite. The small dried shrimp is the perfect addition to make the dish even more delicious.

How to make dazhu gansi?

Ingredients:

-200 grams xianggan

-20 grams shelled raw shrimp

-15 grams Jinhua ham

-25 grams winter bamboo shoots

-5 grams shrimp eggs

-50 grams cooked chicken breast, cut into thin strips

-10 grams pea sprouts

-300 milliliters chicken stock

-10 grams salt.

Steps:

1. Cut the tofu into julienne strips. If you prefer, you can buy pre-shredded tofu at the market. Using a sieve, immerse tofu in a pot of boiling water for one minute. Remove, drain, then submerge another minute. Drain.

2. Heat a wok and add oil. Stir-fry shrimp until fully cooked. Set aside.

3. Pour chicken broth into a pot. Place tofu shreds on one side, and chicken, ham, shrimp eggs and bamboo shoots on the other side. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until soup is thick. Sprinkle evenly with salt and cover. Simmer 5 more minutes.

4. Place tofu in the bottom of a serving bowl and pile with items on the other side of the pot. Top with shrimp and pea sprouts and pour broth into bowl. Serve immediately.

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