This crispy tofu with shitake mushrooms is a wonderful Chinese-inspired dish, using wedges of tofu that have been drained for at least a few hours. I actually drained mine overnight in a tofu press kept in the fridge. The dryer you can get it the better. I’ve used fresh shiitake mushrooms, which you can get from Sainsbury’s. You can also use the dried shiitake mushrooms if you like (soak them for 1 hour in hot water before hand), though they tend to be without their stem and have a more intense flavour. For this dish, I prefer the flexibility of the fresh ones.
This crispy tofu with shiitake mushrooms is a fairly quick dish to make. Once your tofu is drained, the rest is just stir-frying. The tofu itself is to be cooked separately, so that it can crispen up. Do this first, then keep them in a low oven while you’re cooking the rest of the dish.
Try this dish with my Braised Tofu and Beetroot Spring Rolls.
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Crispy Tofu with Shiitake Mushrooms.
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus a few hours draining time. Cooking time: about 30 minutes
1 block firm tofu, drained for at least 4 hours
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 orange pepper, large diced
120g fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, peeled, halved and cut into wedges
150g sugar snap peas
3 cloves garlic, chopped
A handful of chopped cashew nuts
4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
The juice of half a lime
3 tbsp water
1 heaped tbsp soft, brown sugar
½ tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
Cut the tofu into 4 slices by cutting it lengthways down the middle, and then those 2 pieces in half. Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan or wok, until quite hot, and then gently place in the tofu. Fry, on a medium-high heat, for about 6 minutes each side, until the tofu is crisp and browned. Drain and transfer it on an oven, preheated to gas 4/180C/350F, until the rest of the food is cooked.
Add a little more oil to the pan, if necessary, and fry the pepper, mushrooms and onion for 8-10 minutes, stirring often. Now put in the sugar snap peas and give it another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the cashew nuts, stir through and cook for 3 more minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. Allow the stir-fry to bubble in the sauce for 2-3 minutes and then turn off the heat.
Remove the tofu from the oven and serve on top of plain rice, then spoon the stir-fry on top of that. Serve immediately.
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