Grilling imparts a smoky flavour to tofu, while changing the surface texture. You buy it in packs, usually of
Cut the tofu into 2.5-cm / 1-inch slices and lay these on a cake rack. Put a tray on top, weight it with 3 or 4 tins and leave for 30–45 minutes to get rid of excess water.
Put the dried wild mushrooms in a bowl, pour the boiling water over them and leave for 20 minutes to plump up.
Drain the mushrooms through a muslin-lined sieve into a pan, then rinse the mushrooms.
Add these back to the soaking liquid, together with the red wine, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns, star anise, cloves and salt. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
Arrange the tofu in a single layer in a plastic container and pour the marinade over it through a muslin-lined sieve. When cool, put on a lid and refrigerate for a minimum of about 24 hours, though it will benefit from 3–4 days.
Drain the tofu, passing the marinade through a muslin-lined sieve again. Once reboiled and strained a second time the marinade will keep in the fridge for a week and can be used again.
Thread the tofu pieces on water-soaked wooden skewers (to prevent scorching) interspersed with shiitake mushrooms and pieces of lightly oiled aubergine.
Grill on a metal plate or over a barbecue, turning frequently for about 8 minutes. The tofu will be meaty and full of flavour.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.