A tasty, popular dish from the Sichuan Provence in China which features a hot and spicy chili and bean-based sauce. Variations of this dish are also popular in Korea and Japan.
MAKES: 2 Main meal servings
2 Tubs of Earth Source Foods Soft Tofu
Salt, hot water
50gms dried shitake mushrooms with ½ litre boiling water
1½ Tablespoons fermented black beans, chopped
1 - 2 Hot red chillies, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fermented broad bean paste
3 Tablespoons sunflower oil
2 Cloves finely chopped garlic
½ Tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 Tablespoons sweet sherry
1 Tablespoon tamari sauce
½ Teaspoon sichuan pepper powder
1 Tablespoon cornflour dissolved in 4 tablespoons cold water to form a runny paste
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander for garnish
Soak the shitake mushrooms in 2 cups of boiling water for 15 minutes. Squeeze mushrooms of excess liquid, retaining the mushroom-infused soaking liquid. Cut the shitake mushrooms into small bite sized pieces and put aside.
Cube the tofu into approx 2cm pieces (each tub will make about 16 cubes).
Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water, liberally sprinkling about 2 tablespoons of salt over the top. Leave for 15 minutes, then drain and discard the salty liquid. This important process imparts a characteristic texture to the tofu.
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add black beans, broad bean paste and chillies and stir for approx 1 minute. Add ginger and garlic and mix through to fry lightly. Add shitake mushrooms, sesame oil, sichuan pepper, tamari sauce, sherry and stir through. Then add soaking liquid from mushrooms, heat through and lightly cook for 3 minutes.
Gently add the tofu cubes and carefully fold through the sauce. Add the cornflour mixture and bring to a light simmer, just enough to thicken the sauce. If too thick, add a little boiling water if needed.
Serve with steamed rice and garnish with freshly chopped coriander.