Braised Celery with Bamboo Beancurd

This is a flavorful, healthful, comforting dish that can be made quickly and easily from a very few ingredients. Chinese celery is more flavorful than ours, and the stalks are slightly more narrow and darker green. However, plain old celery is just fine for this recipe if you don’t live near an Asian market or farmers’ market that features an Asian produce vendor. Read more about bamboo beancurd here. If you can’t find bamboo beancurd, you can substitute cubed pressed or baked tofu, but try to find an unflavored variety. If you use water or vegetable broth, you can make this vegan.

ingredients:

  • 3 oz bamboo beancurd
  • 4 stalks celery, cut on the diagonal or roll cut into 1″ sections
  • 1 T oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt more or less to taste
  • 4 T water or broth (low sodium, if canned)

thickener:

  • 1/2 T cornstarch or tapioca starch
  • 2 T water or broth

garnish

  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

method:

  1. Soak the bamboo beancurd in warm water until softened – you may have to cut away the “bends” where it was hung to dry, as these sometimes just won’t rehydrate. Cut into 1″ sections.
  2. Combine the thickener ingredients and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until it shimmers.
  4. Stirfry the celery briefly to coat with oil, then add the beancurd sections and stirfry 1/2 m more.
  5. Add the salt and liquid, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Braise just until the celery is cooked, about 1-2 m – it should be bright green and still have a lot of crunch.
  7. Add the thickener, and cook 1 m more to cook out the starchy taste.
  8. Slide into serving bowl, garnish with sesame oil, and serve.

nutritional data

I used water rather than broth and assumed the recipe serves 4 as part of a larger meal for these figures. You could reduce the sodium even more by using less salt, but this dish does need a bit to have more flavor.

  • Total calories 153, calories from fat 72
  • Total fat 9 g, saturated fat 2 g
  • Cholesterol 2 mg
  • Sodium 325 mg
  • Total carbs 4 g, dietary fiber 1 g, sugars 1 g
  • Protein 5 g
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