What is DouGan?
DouGan (豆乾) is a Chinese Pressed Tofu that is usually marinated in five spice powder. It has a meaty texture that can simulate the taste of meat. Normal varieties of tofu has a completely different texture which does not give will not give the same satiation that Dougan does. It is the perfect for those who are looking for a vegan tofu recipe.
You typically find DouGan in stir fry where they use bean sprouts and and pickled cabbage. You will brown slices of the tofu similar to the way you will fry a piece of meat. The sugars in the dougan will also brown, forming a maillard reaction.
The Chinese also eat this by itself as a snack, but I personally have never done so. They also have prepackaged savory and sweet jerky dougan. Those have almost the same texture as beef jerky. If you didnt know better, you might assume that its meat. The Chinese already had their own version of byond meat a long time ago.
There are multiple varieties of DouGan. They range from soft to hard although they taste about the same to me. The one closest to how the original tofu taste like is the marinated version. The exterior is semi tough with a soft interior. It gives an excellent contrast in texture and its the excellent choice if you want to eat a blend of the two.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of different manufacturer who make DouGan. For the average consumer, it might be daunting but I personally recommend that you just get the cheapest per ounce. That is not to say that all of them are the same. Some brand simply has fewer moisture content and will dry out faster than other. You just have to be mindful of how long you fry it.
Where to find DouGan?
You can find it any major Asian Supermarket. Taiwanese people love eating it, so if you have an area with a large Taiwanese community, that would be your best bet. Prices will vary from 2-5 dollar per package. Not exactly cheap for tofu, but if you are looking for a meat alternative, its one of the best choice.
Substitute for DouGan
The closest substitute that you can find for DouGan is the extra firm tofu. The taste and texture is slightly different. However, they are both tofu, so there is that. You also wont get the same type of texture. One other thing that you have to do is to be very careful when frying extra firm tofu. It is simply too delicate, but once you form a crust on it, it will become a little bit more robust. The upside to the firm tofu is that its a lot cheaper.
DouGan Vegan Tofu Recipes
You can use DouGan as substitute for beef, pork or chicken in any stir fry dish. You can even it it by itself by dipping it in soy sauce. Here is one of the most common way that I use it.
Pressed Tofu with Shallot Sauce
One package of 5-8 oz DouGan. You can use any weight though.
One 2 oz packet of pickled vegetables
2 cup of bean sprout.
2 Tbsp of Fried Shallot Sauce
Soy Sauce to Taste.
1) Cut the Tofu into strips and fry until brown.
2) Toss in the Bean Sprout and and Pickled Vegetables
3) Mix in the Fried Shallot Sauce. If it is too thick, add in some water to mix well.
4) Add Soy Sauce as Necessary.
1) Browning the tofu will give it color and additional flavor.
2) The Bean Sprout and Pickled Vegetables add a balance of salty and neutral flavor. It provides many different contrast in texture.
3) The shallot sauce is great in stir fry but you can use any type of sauce you like.
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