Saturday, July 29, 2006
Kao Fu (Braise Wheat Gluten)
I first had this dish at my fiance's family's house. His family is from Shanghai, and this is suppose to be a pretty common Shanghai dish. Kao fu, or wheat gluten, can be purchased in either frozen form or the dried form. I opted for the dried form, which had to be rehydrated in water prior to deep frying. At first I was curious why deep frying is necessary, but it is needed in order to give that bouncy, resilient texture that can withstand the braising time. Without this step, the texture may become soggy, fall apart, and lack that certain body.
Certainly my version cannot compare to my fiance's mother's version, it is still very good, as I have used the recipe from my trusted cookbook author, Florence Lin. Enjoy!
Recipe for Kao Fu
Adapted from Florence Lin's Regional Cooking
2 oz dried wheat gluten
1/2 dried wood ear
30 stems or dried lily buds
2 large shitake mushrooms
1 star anise
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp seasame oil
oil for deep frying
1. Soak gluten in boiling water until soft. Sqeeze dry and cut into cubes. Should make about 2 cups
2. Soak mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. Discard stems and cut into 4 pieces, reserving the liquid. Rehydrate the wood ears and lily buds for 30 minutes and drain.
3. Heat oil to 350 F. Deep fry the gluten until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
4. Using the reserved mushroom liquid, add enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. Pour this solution into a pot along with the rest of the ingredients except seasame oil. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Braise for about 1 hour until there is little liquid left. Sprinkle on the seasame oil and either serve hot or cold.
Picture of the dried wheat gluten package.