Mushroom Beancurd

This is a superb vegetarian dish that is simple to make and delicious to eat. Chinese mushrooms, with their intriguing smoky flavours, are braised with beancurd, which readily absorbs the seasonings and the essence of the mushrooms. An unusual and very nutritious treat. This dish also re-heats well which makes it ideal for entertaining.

Ingredients

  • 100 g (4 oz) Chinese dried mushrooms
  • 600 ml (1 pint) boiling water
  • 450 g (1 lb) firm fresh beancurd
  • tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded spring onions
  • tablespoons finely shredded fresh root ginger
  • tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Method

Soak the Chinese dried mushrooms in the boiling water for 30 minutes, then drain well through a fine sieve. Keep the mushroom soaking liquid. Let it settle and pour off most of the liquid, leaving any sand at the bottom. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the mushrooms through the sieve and add to the reserved mushroom liquid. Remove the tough stems and finely shred the caps.

Cut the beancurd into 2.5-cm (1-in) cubes.

Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the spring onions and ginger and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, salt, pepper and sugar. Then add the mushroom caps, beancurd cubes and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add more liquid if needed. Return the heat to high and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been reduced. Add the sesame oil and turn the mixture gently several times to mix well. Transfer to a serving dish and serve at once or allow it to cool and reheat when ready to serve.

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