Mushrooms and tofu have a natural affinity as ingredients, and they are combined here in a fresh vegetarian take on a classic Chinese hotpot. Serve this dish from Totally Tofu with steamed rice or boiled noodles for lunch or supper.
400 g firm tofu
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 head of Chinese leaf, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons rice wine or Amontillado sherry
a pinch of Chinese five spice powder
150 g assorted fresh mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, eryngii), large ones halved
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
a pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
salt, to season
spring onion, chopped,
Wrap the tofu in paper towels and place a weighty item on top to squeeze out the excess moisture.
Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 200 ml/1 scant cup of hot water for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving the soaking liquid. Trim and discard the tough stalks from the shiitake and cut them in half.
Cut the tofu into cubes and roll them in the cornflour to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan. Fry the tofu for 5 minutes over a medium-high heat, turning over during frying, until lightly browned on all sides.
Heat the remaining oil in a casserole dish or Dutch oven over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, ginger and garlic and fry, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add the Chinese leaf and fry for a further 2 minutes. Mix in the rice wine or sherry and five spice powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the fried tofu, soaked shiitake and the fresh mushrooms.
Pour in the reserved shiitake soaking liquid, soy sauce and add the pinch of sugar. Bring to the boil. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes.
Uncover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring gently now and then. Season with salt. Stir in the sesame seed oil. Serve straight away, garnished with chopped spring onion.