Bean curd, or tofu, has never become as popular in the United States as it is in China or Japan. Americans are not especially fond of its bland taste. But its lack of assertive flavor is just what makes it so useful in many dishes.

Rather than try to convince anyone that tofu burgers are as good as hamburgers, use tofu when it can pick up all the seasonings in a well-spiced dish, such as this Chinese Broccoli and Pork.It's a wonderful way to remove a lot of the fat from the dish but still enjoy the flavor of browned pork.

Ready-ground pork is not especially lean. For the leanest pork, grind a piece of tenderloin. If that seems too expensive grind a piece of center-cut loin, trimmed of all the fat.


- Boil water for pasta.

- Prepare bean curd.

- Prepare whole broccoli.

- Grate ginger and add to hot oil with garlic and chili paste.

- Add bean curd, then pork, then broccoli.

- Mix cornstarch with stock and hoisin; add to broccoli; cover and cook.

- Cook pasta.

- Drain pasta and serve with broccoli-pork mixture.


Per serving: 615 calories; 17 grams fat; 24 milligrams cholesterol; 430 milligrams sodium; 37 grams protein; 81 grams carbohydrate


Ginger, fresh or frozen

Minced garlic in oil

Hot chili-garlic paste

Corn or canola oil


Chicken stock or broth

Hoisin sauce


8 ounces firm bean curd

4 ounces very lean pork

32 ounces whole broccoli or 18 ounces broccoli flowerets (ready-cut) (7 or 8 cups)

9 ounces very thin Italian pasta

1990 by Foxcraft, Ltd.

Excerpted from "20-Minute Menus," by

Marian Burros. (Reprinted by permission

of Simon and Schuster; distributed by

Special Features/Syndication Sales)

Chinese Broccoli and Pork

8 ounces firm bean curd

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil

1 to 2 teaspoons hot chili-garlic paste

1 tablespoon corn or canola oil

4 ounces very lean ground pork

32 ounces whole broccoli or 18 ounces broccoli flowerets (ready-cut) (7 or 8 cups)

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2/3 cup chicken stock or broth

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce Wash and drain bean curd and press between paper towels to remove moisture. Slice in 1/4-inch cubes.

Grate ginger. Cook with garlic and chili paste in hot oil in non-stick skillet or wok, only until mixture begins to color.

Reduce heat and stir in bean curd, cooking until bean curd begins to color, about 2 minutes.

Add pork and cook until pork loses its pink color; stir.

Remove tough stem ends from whole broccoli and cut flowerets into bite-size pieces. Add broccoli; stir well and cook 2 minutes.

Mix cornstarch with a little stock; then combine with remaining broth and hoisin. Stir into skillet; cover; reduce heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until broccoli is crisp-tender.

Serve over noodles. (Serves three.)

Note: Hoisin sauce is available in some supermarkets and in Chinese grocery stores.

Thin Noodles

9 ounces very thin Italian pasta Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in covered pot.

Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain well and serve topped with broccoli-pork mixture. (Serves three.)