Japanese Tofu with Braised Mushrooms and Wood-Ear Fungus

I like eating beancurd / tofu very much and this is one of the dishes I usually choose when I have economy rice at the food stalls. Tofu comes in many forms – firm, soft, with egg, etc. Japanese tofu is usually very smooth in texture and rather soft to the touch. One of the most common Japanese tofu available is the ones sold in tubes.

Japanese Tofu

These tofus usually has eggs as one of the ingredients and it is slightly salty to taste rather than neutral. Bearing in mind that it is already “tasty” on its own, the gravy should not be overpowering in taste. Otherwise, you would have missed out on the tofu’s original taste.

Pre-fried Japanese Tofu lined on the plate before the gravy is poured over it

In this recipe, I have cooked a gravy based on finely cut mushrooms (dried chinese mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms to be exact) and wood-ear fungus. I also throw in some julienned carrots for a contrast in colour as well as to provide natural sweetness to the gravy. The crunchiness of the wood-ear fungus and the smooth smoky taste of the mushrooms provide an interesting biting experience. I ran out of spring onions when I was cooking this dish but you may wish to throw in some for added colour as well.

This is my recipe for Japanese Tofu with Braised Mushrooms and Wood-Ear Fungus

Ingredients

  • 2 tubes of Japanese Tofu (slice across the tube in the middle using a very sharp knife, gently push the tofu out onto a plate. Cut the tofu into 1.5 – 2 cm thickness)
  • 2 – 3 pieces wood-ear fungus (pre-soak in water to soften it and thereafter, cut into thin strips)
  • 4 – 5 pieces dried chinese mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms (pre-soaked and thereafter cut into thin strips)
  • 50 grammes of carrot (julienned)
  • 50 – 100 grammes minced meat (pork or chicken) – optional
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 cup water / stock
  • Corn starch (prepared using 2 tablespoons corn flour mixed with 4 tablespoons water)

Marinade (for minced meat)

  • 2 teaspoons light soya sauce
  • a couple of dashes of white pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon of corn flour

Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chinese cooking wine

Method

Marinade the minced meat for 30 minutes.

Deep fry the tofu on high heat till golden brown. (Tip: Place cut tofu on plate and dust / sprinkle 3 teaspoons of corn flour to lightly coat the tofu before frying. The tofu will turn out crispy on outside). Remove and line on plate.

Use 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil previously used for deep-frying and heat it up in a wok. Fry the garlic with minced meat till minced meat is cooked. If no minced meat is used, fry the garlic with wood-ear fungus and mushrooms on medium heat till garlic browns. Add carrots and stir-well. Add oyster sauce, water and close lid to bring to boil. Once boiled, reduce to medium low heat to simmer for 5 minutes and add salt to taste. (The longer your simmer, the better tasting the gravy will be). Add cornstarch gradually to thicken gravy to your desire.

Pour gravy over the pre-fried tofu and serve hot with rice.

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