It was said that in Kangxi Emperor of Qing Dynasty, a scholar named Wang Zhihe failed in the imperial examination, and he idled in the inn, intending to go back home. However, he had no money back, so he determined to stay in the city and tried the exam again. It was a long term from the next exam, so he had no choice but to earn his life in the city. Born in a poor family, as his father opened a tofu shop in his hometown, he had begun to learn how to make tofu when he was young. Therefore, he rented a house to make bean curd by grinding soybean, then hawked along the street. In one summer, some remaining tofu that had not been sold out was going bad. When he was worried about the lost, an idea occurred to him. He cut the bean curd into pieces, found a jar and preserved by salting it. To his surprise, when he opened it several days later, a strong smell came out. He tasted it boldly, it was actually good. Since then, stinky tofu had been widely spread.
Originated in ancient China, stinky tofu is made and consumed in different ways varied from China to the world, and the same is true of the two types of fried Stinky tofu in Changsha and Shaoxing, which are the most famous and classic in China. Stinky tofu out of Fire-fiend Palace representing this delicacy in Changsha, Mao Zedong and Zhu Rongji had been there and highly praised it, and the American journal “food” had coverage on the scene. Fire-fiend Palace selects excellent soybeans and makes them into bean curds, then mix with the prepared brine made from winter bamboo-shoots, black mushrooms and spirit that has been fermenting for about six months, eventually let it sit outside for several hours until it becomes putrid, moldy, and grey colored. Having a strong odor before cooking, it can be deep fried and served with hot sauce and pickled cabbage. Fried stinky tofu in Shaoxing is cut into bite-size cubes for cooking, marinating for six hours in summer and two days in winter with moldy peduncle. Then clean by the water, dry in the air, and pour into the cauldron. When it turns golden, it can be fished from the boiling cooking oil in the cauldron. The stinky tofu sold in Tianjin is mostly made in Nanjing style, with a mild aroma.
How to cook
It is commonly fried, until it is light and airy in its bubbles. It is a popular snack in China, and you can find it at the night markets or roadside stands. It can also be eaten steamed, cold, simmered in a stew or chopped and used as normal tofu in a stir-fry. It is always accompanied by hot pepper sauce.