Chinese Black Bean Hotpot with Salt & Pepper Tofu
This meal was my favourite dish at a cafe I used to frequent, and when I took a friend of mine, she fell in love with it as much as I did. This is our version of the most delicious hotpot you will find. Perfect for a cold winter's night, or just about any night of the year really. It's surprisingly easy, makes the house smell devine and is full of flavour you won't know what to do with yourself.
The rice and salt & pepper tofu are optional, but I highly recommend preparing these to add to this dish if you've got time. The rice soaks up all the flavours of the broth and fills hungry tummies, and the salt & pepper tofu is too yummy not to go to the effort of adding to your bowl.
Dairy free, egg free, vegan, and gluten free.
2 heaped tspns beef stock powder (if you need vegan, Massel is a good brand)
4 tblspns soy sauce
2 whole star anise
1/2 tspn Chinese five spice powder
1 carrot, cut in a few big chunks
1 onion, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 inches ginger, peeled
4 big stems of fresh coriander, leaves, stems, and roots
1.5 tspns salt, or to taste
4 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
4 spring onions, sliced (resereve some green bits for garnish)
4 mushrooms, sliced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
200g rice vermicelli noodles
1 bunch of pak choy, stems and leaves chopped in chunks
50g bean shoots, plus extra for garnish
2 tblspns fresh coriander, roughly chopped
200g of basmati rice (optional)
Salt & Pepper Tofu
250g firm tofu, cut into 2cm cubes
100g gluten free cornflour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tspn cracked black pepper (I like to use a combination of white & black pepper)
1/2 tspn onion powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Stock Place all the ingredients for the stock into a medium sized stock pot, bring to a boil, and simmer on low for 1 - 3 hours. You can even make this a day ahead.
Salt & Pepper Tofu
While the stock is on the stove, mix the salt, pepper, and onion powder with the cornflour in a bowl. This is one recipe where you don't have to press the liquid from the tofu, so just cut the tofu into squares and place straight into the cornflour mixture. Toss to coat, leaving for a few minutes, and rotating on occasion, to soak up the flour before cooking.
In a non-stick frypan, heat the oil and cook the tofu for about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown and lightly cooked. Alternatively you could use an air fryer if you have one.
Drain on paper towel and keep warm.
To make the hotpot, you need to remove the chunks from the stock but reserve all the liquid. You can either use a slotted spoon, or alternatively, I like to grab an even bigger stock pot than I used to make the stock, put a colander over the top, and pour the liquid into the fresh pot. Discard the vegetables.
Add the carrots, spring onion, mushrooms, and blackbeans to the stock. Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, while getting the rice cooked.
Cook vermicelli noodles as instructed on packet and add to the hotpot with pak choy, coriander and beanshoots. Cook on low for 5 minutes.
Serve hotpot with additional rice (optional), extra bean shoots, coriander leaves, and spring onion greens. Top with your salt and pepper tofu.