Chicken & Soft Tofu Casserole (鸡粒豆腐煲)

Oleh : BoyaQQ

This chicken and soft tofu casserole recipe is a dish of bubbling, delicious comfort.  A tofu casserole, usually served in a clay pot, is the very idea of comfort food for many Chinese. 

The word “casserole” refers to a dish cooked or stewed slowly, usually in an oven. In the case of Chinese casseroles, they are often cooked in earthenware pots, and while they are indeed stewed and take longer to cook than a stir-fry (which takes seconds or minutes), they still only take about a half hour to cook. 

While the clay pot is traditional, you can also cook it in your wok (a small dutch oven works great too) and serve it piping hot at the table. 

Soft Tofu: The Star Ingredient

It may seem strange to call tofu the star ingredient of anything, but it really is the bigger player in this dish, with the chicken playing a supporting role. 

The silky, custard-y texture of the tofu squished into some steamed rice with plenty of sauce? HEAVEN. 

Chinese tofu casserole recipe with chicken

Tofu is a food that we all look forward to as much as any meat, not because it’s vegetarian or “healthy,” but because it’s worthy of anticipation!

When my parents (and eventually I as well) lived in Beijing from 2011-2014, we bought our tofu at the market down the block from our apartment, where a married couple made tofu of all kinds fresh daily. They had tofu skin, spiced pressed tofu, and silky smooth soft tofu made from freshly set soy milk. 

When they’d plop a hunk of it into a tiny bag for us to take home, it was still warm. The flavor (yes, you heard me—it had a flavor!) was not just there in spades, it was out of this world. 

We’re back on the store-bought stuff now that we’re back stateside. But that’s okay, because any soft block of tofu will do for this simple recipe. It lets the texture of the tofu shine, with the savory flavors of dried mushrooms and oyster sauce.

Clay Pot vs. No clay Pot

The purpose of the clay pot is to stew/braise for longer periods and also to keep the food hot at the dinner table. If you don’t have one, you can use a small enameled cast iron Dutch oven or simply keep the dish in the wok and plate it when it’s done. 

The clay pot does add the bubbling-at-the-table factor, though!

bubbling Chinese clay pot of tofu and chicken and mushrooms

This tofu casserole with chicken also often has dried salted fish in it. We didn’t include it in this recipe. However, you can add it simply by mincing it (1 ounce should do), and stir-frying it along with the chicken. 

Chicken Tofu Casserole Recipe Instructions

In a small bowl, add the diced chicken, 1 tablespoon water, cornstarch, oil, and oyster sauce. Mix well and set aside. 

Rinse the dried shiitake mushrooms and soak them in 2 cups of hot water for at least 2 hours (you could also soak these overnight in cold water if you’re thinking ahead). Trim the stems off the shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice them.

Cut the block of tofu into ¾ inch cubes. Lay the cubes on a large plate, and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients. 

Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water, and set aside. Create the sauce mixture by combining the chicken stock, sugar, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside. 

Chicken and soft tofu casserole ingredients

Heat your wok over medium high heat until lightly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and then the chicken. Stir-fry the chicken just until it turns opaque, about 1 minute. Remove from the wok to a small bowl and set aside. 

Searing boneless chicken thigh pieces in wok

Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the wok over medium heat, along with the ginger and the white parts of the scallions.

Ginger and scallions in wok

Cook for 30 seconds, and then add the garlic. Cook for another 30 seconds.

Garlic, ginger and scallions in wok

Increase the heat to high, and add the Shaoxing wine and the mushrooms. Stir-fry for 1 minute. 

Add the sauce mixture, and bring it to a simmer. Mix the cornstarch slurry you prepared earlier to make sure it’s well combined. Stream it into the simmering sauce mixture, mixing until it’s thick enough to coat a spoon. If it’s too thick, you can add a splash of water or stock.

Carefully pour off any liquid that has collected at the bottom of the plate of tofu, and add it in, folding it into the sauce with just a few turns of your wok spatula. 

Adding tofu to sauce mixture in wok

Then fold in the chicken.

Adding chicken to tofu in wok

Transfer the mixture to a clay pot or small 2-qt. Dutch oven, and gradually bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Top with the green parts of the scallions, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 8 minutes. (Alternatively, keep the tofu in the wok. Lower the heat to medium low, top with the scallions, cover, and simmer for 8 minutes in the wok.)

Open the lid, and stir in the frozen peas along with a generous pinch of salt (or add salt to taste).

Green peas added to chicken and tofu mixture in wok
Shown above is the recipe done from start to finish in a wok.

Simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute to heat the peas through, and serve immediately. 

Tofu Casserole with Chicken Chinese Recipe

Enjoy this Chinese tofu casserole comfort food recipe!

Tofu Clay Pot with Chicken

Looking for more soft tofu recipes? Try these!

Chicken & Soft Tofu Casserole – 鸡粒豆腐煲

This chicken and soft tofu casserole recipe is a dish of bubbling, delicious comfort.  A tofu casserole, usually served in a clay pot, is the very idea of comfort food for many Chinese.

Chicken and Soft Tofu Casserole

serves: 4

Ingredients

For the chicken and marinade:

For the rest of the dish:

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, add the diced chicken, 1 tablespoon water, cornstarch, oil, and oyster sauce. Mix well and set aside.

  • Rinse the dried shiitake mushrooms and soak them in 2 cups of hot water for at least 2 hours (you could also soak these overnight in cold water if you’re thinking ahead). Trim the stems off the shiitake mushrooms and thinly slice them.

  • Cut the block of tofu into ¾ inch cubes. Lay the cubes on a large plate, and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

  • Combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water, and set aside. Create the sauce mixture by combining the chicken stock, sugar, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix well and set aside.

  • Heat your wok over medium high heat until lightly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and then the chicken. Stir-fry the chicken just until it turns opaque, about 1 minute. Remove from the wok to a small bowl and set aside.

  • Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the wok over medium heat, along with the ginger and the white parts of the scallions. Cook for 30 seconds, and then add the garlic. Cook for another 30 seconds.

  • Increase the heat to high, and add the Shaoxing wine. Then add the mushrooms. Stir-fry for 1 minute.

  • Add the sauce mixture, and bring it to a simmer. Mix the cornstarch slurry you prepared earlier to make sure it’s well combined. Stream it into the simmering sauce mixture, mixing until it’s thick enough to coat a spoon. If it’s too thick, add a splash of water or stock.

  • Carefully pour off any liquid that has collected at the bottom of the plate of tofu, and add it in, folding it into the sauce with just a few turns of your wok spatula. Then add the chicken and fold it into the mixture.

  • Transfer the tofu and chicken mixture to a clay pot or small 2-qt. Dutch oven, and gradually bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Top with the green parts of the scallions, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 8 minutes. (Alternatively, keep the tofu in the wok. Lower the heat to medium low, top with the scallions, cover, and simmer for 8 minutes in the wok.)

  • Open the lid, and stir in the frozen peas along with a generous pinch of salt (or add salt to taste). Simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute to heat the peas through, and serve immediately.

Tips & Notes:

Most prep time is inactive prep (for soaking the mushrooms).

nutrition facts

Calories: 288kcal (14%) Carbohydrates: 12g (4%) Protein: 19g (38%) Fat: 18g (28%) Saturated Fat: 2g (10%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g Monounsaturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 54mg (18%) Sodium: 611mg (25%) Potassium: 485mg (14%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 3g (3%) Vitamin A: 166IU (3%) Vitamin C: 7mg (8%) Calcium: 62mg (6%) Iron: 2mg (11%)



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