Braised Beancurd with Mushrooms

Warm and nourishing and vegetarian (although the original recipe often contains a bit of pork)! I usually prefer the silken version of tofu, but for this dish the regular water-packed firm variety works best. You can use fresh mushrooms or rehydrate dry ones for 30 m in hot water – if you do the latter, save the soaking liquid for flavoring this dish and adding to soups.

ingredients:

  • 12 oz firm tofu
  • 1 T salt dissolved in 2 c water
  • 1 T tapioca flour, potato flour, or cornstarch
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems reserved for making stock, caps cut into quarters
  • 1 T light soy sauce
  • 1/2 c water
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1.5″ sections
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour, potato flour, or cornstarch dissoved in 1 T cold water
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

method:

  1. Cut the beancurd into 1/4″ thick rectangular slices approximately 1″ x 1.5″ in size, then soak in salted water for 30 m.
  2. Drain the beancurd and pat dry, then dredge lightly in the tapioca flour.
  3. Heat 1 T oil in a wok over medium-high heat just until it shimmers, then add the beancurd, reduce heat to medium, and allow to brown on one side before flipping and browning the other side – this may need to be done in batches, depending on the size of your wok. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 T oil in the wok over medium-high heat just until it shimmers, then explode the garlic just until fragrant – do not let it brown. Add the mushrooms and stirfry quickly for 15 seconds.
  5. Add the beancurd, soy sauce, and water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for approximately 10 m, uncovered.
  6. When the liquid is down to approximately 1/4 c, add the scallions and then the thickener. Stir gently but quickly so that your sauce does not become lumpy – it should thicken and become clear in a matter of seconds, but keep simmering until the starchy taste disappears, approximately 1 m more.
  7. Adjust the seasoning, drizzle with sesame oil, and serve.
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