Monday, 8 December 2014

Sichuan-Style Braised Tofu with Mushrooms

This is a pretty quick meal to whip up when you’re short of time and fancy something without meat (note - to be truly veggie, substitute the chicken stock for vegetable or just water). Plus it is pretty versatile as you can use the tofu of your choice (I would have preferred silken but could only get firm), ditto mushrooms. You could even make it with chicken instead of tofu if you wanted a non veggie version.

This has some similarities with, and is partially inspired by, a kind of mapo tofu that I have blogged previously (I’m actually amazed that I haven’t posted a proper mapo tofu as it is one of my favourite things in the world. Will have to remedy that soon) but just about different enough to warrant it’s own inclusion.

Sichuan style Braised Tofu with Mushrooms
Serves 3-4

2 tbsp cooking oil
2 inch knob of ginger, sliced into matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 skinny spring onions, cut into 1 inch sections on an angle
2 tbsp chilli bean paste
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (optional)
1 block of tofu, cut into bite size pieces
20g dried wood ear mushroom, or black fungus, soaked & thinly sliced
100g shiitake mushroom (fresh), thinly sliced
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp palm sugar
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
200-300ml weak chicken stock
½ tbsp potato flour, mixed with 1 tbsp water
small handful coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper

Steep the tofu pieces in very hot, lightly salted water and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat and swirl it around to coat the sides. Turn the heat down a little and sauté the ginger, garlic, and spring onions until fragrant. About 3 minutes.

Add the chili bean paste and stir around for a further minute or so. Splash in the cooking wine if using.

Remove the tofu from the hot water with a slotted spoon and add to the wok along with the mushrooms. Add the soy sauce, sugar and white pepper and stir everything together carefully so it is mixed well.

Pour in the stock, stir, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes.

Add a little of the flour and water mixture, stirring carefully to thicken the sauce. Add more as needed but be careful to not add more than you need - you want it slightly thickened rather than gloopy.

Serve immediately over steamed white rice, sprinkle with the ground Sichuan pepper and coriander.

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