Bean Curd and Prawn Stew from Building a Perfect Meal

June 14, 2012
I love when a cookbook has a creative concept, so when I was given the opportunity to review Building a Perfect Meal by Michelle Tchea I knew it was going to be a fun adventure. I might add that when the creative concept is combined with Asian cuisine, well, it doesn’t get much better. 
The cookbook cover reads:
“The concept of this cookbook is simple:  start with a basic recipe and then elevate it into something spectacular…”
The book starts with a helpful explanation of ingredients including things such as red beans, taro, daikon and luffa. After the knowledge building, the fun begins! Each page has two recipes – the basic recipe to master and then the more complex recipe which incorporates the basic. 
For example, Boiled Eggs followed by beautiful Marbled Tea Eggs; Sesame String Bean Salad and then Peanut Summer Noodles; for dessert, Gloriously Sweet Red Beans followed up by Sweet Red Beans and Panna Cotta.
There aren’t many cookbooks ideal for both the seasoned cook and the beginner, but this one definitely meets that goal. The best part is that the recipes are straight forward with few ingredients, so if you like quick cooking, this book is for you. 
There are many recipes I can’t wait to try, but for my review I went straight to the Bean Curd and Prawn Stew. I was drawn to this recipe both by the flavors and by the beautiful photo (one of many that grace the pages through the entire book).
The basic recipe for this dish is Stir-fried Minced Pork. A few more ingredients and the stew is born. This is one of those dishes that surprise you with flavor. Using only sugar and soy sauce for seasoning allows the taste of the other ingredients to shine through.

Bean Curd and Prawn Stew 

Reprinted with permission from Michelle Tchea

Serves 2-4
Cooking oil for shallow-frying
Onion 1 small, peeled and finely chopped
Prawns (shrimps) 4, peeled and roughly chopped
Minced pork 150 g (5 1/3 oz)
White wine or water (optional) 1 – 2 Tbsp
Diced carrots 45 g (1 ½ oz)
Firm bean curd 100 g (3 ½ oz), cut into small cubes
Dark soy sauce 1 Tbsp
Sugar ½ tsp
Hot water (optional) 1 – 2 Tbsp
Corn flour (cornstarch) 1 tsp, mixed with 2 tsp cold water
Spring onions (scallions) to garnish, finely chopped
Heat oil in a wok and lightly sauté onions until fragrant. Add prawns and cook until pink, about 1 minute.
Add pork, breaking up any large pieces. Add in a splash of wine or water if the mixture is drying up.
Add carrots and continue to cook over medium heat for another 2 minutes or until the meat is just cooked but still moist. 
Add bean curd, soy sauce and sugar and cook for another 2 minutes or until heated through. Add a splash of hot water if the mixture is looking dry.
Add corn flour mixture and simmer for further 1 minute before removing from heat. Garnish with spring onions and serve hot with rice.
Disclosure: This cookbook was sent to me by Michelle Tchea for review purposes. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so. Thoughts and opinions here are my own.

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  • Diana June 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Sounds like a nice book on how to amp up your dishes. Cool.

  • Anonymous June 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    You are so cool lori! LOVE the blog.
    Anyone who loves food, cooking or just drooling should read your blog chicky babe!

  • Cathleen June 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Ooh, this cookbook sounds great! And what a dish! This looks great!

  • Deb in Hawaii June 18, 2012 at 12:22 am

    It sounds like a great cookbook and I love how satisfying and wonderful the stew looks. 😉

  • thyme (Sarah) June 18, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Delicious and healthy dish! I am always looking for ways to get beautiful chunks of tofu in a dish like this. Bookmarking it. We love all of the asian flavors and the added shrimp will make this a nice low carb but high protein option for us!

  • Joanne June 18, 2012 at 5:22 am

    That is SUCH a fun concept for a cookbook! I love how it can appeal to multiple levels of cooking skills. ANd this stew sounds so delicious!

  • Juliana June 19, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for this recipe Lori…I am trying to add more tofu in my cooking…sounds funny since I grew up eating a lot of tofu…and this dish with shrimp and ground pork loos delicious. Indeed a perfect meal 🙂
    Hope you are having a great week!

  • TasteHongKong June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    An interesting concept.
    This recipe sounds to be a lovely, healthy variation for basic stir-fried pork too, and you’ve a beautiful execution here.

  • lisa is cooking June 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Taking a simple dish and elevating it does sound like a great way to cook. The shrimp and tofu in this stew sound delicious too!

  • Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover June 22, 2012 at 3:34 am

    just eat this alone without rice, also yummy!