By Clotilde Hryshko
In the 1991 movie Raise the Red Lantern, the character played by Gong Li was wife #4 to a lord of a powerful family in 1920’s China. The wives all ate together and they knew each other’s status partially based on the food served. Gong Li’s character always desired spinach and tofu. The movie stuck and replayed in my head for many reasons but her continual requests for this dish became my fixation.
Many years later at the end of a rainy June market we had lots of spinach left. I wasn’t in the mood to freeze it and took the opportunity to finally come up with my version of “spinach and tofu”. I crumbled tofu with scallions in a skillet and cooked them until the water had evaporated. The spinach I steamed in batches and when cool squeezed out any excess water. I added the chopped spinach to the tofu, salting to taste. From there I used this as my filling for egg rolls. It became one of my favorite dinners to make for Father’s Day. I take no credit for how well the tofu and spinach work together. Nor is there any claim to authenticity. I serve the egg rolls with a sesame-chili paste, sometimes adding peanuts. Continue reading