Braised tofu with black beans

I love this dish so much, and it’s my family’s most popular go-to dish for vegetarian Chinese dinners.

The tofu takes up the flavour of the braising liquid while also transforming into a tender but meaty texture. Make sure you taste the seasoning of the liquid well. It should be salty, savoury and a little sweet and should be strong enough to season the tofu as it braises.

Fried tofu is available from Asian grocers and it saves you the step of having to deep-fry the tofu yourself. I prefer this with a more firm, non-puffed tofu, but you can use tofu puffs if that’s all you can find.

  • Cooking time


  • Serves



  • 450 g fried firm tofu (not tofu puffs)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 cm ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp black beans
  • 1½ cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp potato starch mixed with ½ cup cold water 3 spring onions, thinly sliced


  1. Place the tofu in a sieve and pour boiling water over to rinse. This step is optional. Heat a wok or medium saucepan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a minute until the garlic starts to brown. Add the black beans, chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and wine and bring to a simmer. Taste the braising liquid and make any adjustments you need to the seasoning. It should be strongly savoury with a touch of sweetness.
  2. Add the tofu and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the tofu has absorbed the flavour of the braising liquid. Stir in as much of the starch mixture as needed to create a silky sauce. Stir though the spring onions and serve.

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