Stir-fried Fresh Beancurd, Pak Choy and Oyster Mushrooms in Black Bean Sauce


This is a favorite vegetarian recipe of mine, although if you are a meat lover you can add some ground beef after heating the vegetable oil in the method. There are many different varieties of beancurd (dofu to the Chinese, tofu to the Japanese – the name you see in supermarkets). It can be fresh, fried, fermented or smoked and is available in soft and firm varieties. The more acidic tofu is more silken in texture. Although in itself quite bland, when you fry or freeze a fresh block of tofu tiny holes appear, allowing it to soak up wonderful flavors like a sponge. Tofu is extremely nutritious and a good source of low-fat protein because it is made from the milky liquid of crushed soy beans which are pressed and formed to make this cheese-like ingredient.

Most ordinary supermarkets stock the long-life variety of tofu, packed in tetra-paks. However, nothing beats fresh beancurd and I would be thrilled to see fresh tofu next to the Cheddar, mozzarella and stilton in the refrigerator case!

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 oz oyster mushrooms
  • 7 oz pak choy leaves, separated
  • 7 oz fresh tofu, cut into ¾ in cubes
  • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons cold water (optional)

For the Black Bean Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon fermented, salted black beans
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon shaosing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • fresh cilantro sprigs


  1. Blitz all the sauce ingredients in a food processor but do not process to a smooth sauce – you want to keep some texture to the sauce ingredients.
  2. Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil. Throw in the mushrooms, pak choy and fresh tofu and stir fry for less than 1 minute.
  3. Add the sauce and stir gently, taking care not to break up the delicate tofu.
  4. Add the stock to the wok and bring to the boil. For a thicker sauce, add the blended cornstarch and stir well.
  5. Transfer to a large serving plate, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with steamed rice.