I admit, celery was not a vegetable high on my favourite vegetable list, until I rediscovered this simple dish. When reminiscing with my mother about the homemade dishes we used to enjoy back in Shanghai, celery came up again and again as a dinner table stalwart. In Shanghai cooking, celery has a bright green color, a crunchy texture without the stringy bits and a light fragrance. It is the quick blanching that transforms it from a side show to a main attraction. Combined with the protein rich tofu, it makes a satisfying main. When I gave my 9 year old to taste without telling him it was celery, he ate almost a third of the bowl and declared he’s now a fan. So am I !
- 5-6 stalks of celery
- 2 pieces of five spice tofu
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil or more if you like a strong sesame taste
Boil water until it’s bubbling, turn off the heat, and put the tofu in and cover for 5 minutes. This allows the tofu to soften and puff up a little.
Wash and then cut the stalks of celery into the same length as the tofu, then slice thinly into sticks.
Cut the tofu in half then cut it height wise into 3 pieces. Then slice into thin sticks similar in size to the celery.
Heat up the water that’s used for tofu. When it’s boiling, blanch the celery sticks for 30 seconds then rinse to cool them down. To do this quickly, I put the celery in a strainer and dunked it in the boiling water then ran it under the tap quickly to stop the cooking process.
Mix celery with tofu and all the seasonings (that was 1/4 tsp of salt shown in the picture). Wait for 5 minutes before serving to allow the seasonings to blend in evenly.
Now, enjoy it!