If you are looking for a classic Chinese stir frying dish, look no further than this tofu and shitake stir fry. This dish may take a bit longer if you fry your own tofu, but it can be super fast if your grocery store sells tofu that are already fried. It is now super common to find fresh shitake in the market, but for this dish, you really want to use dried shitake. The flavor of this dish will be super off if you use fresh ones.
Vegan Friendly and Gluten Free
There are some pitfalls in the more traditional way of preparing this dish, so please keep in mind the followings for those with vegan and gluten-free diets. First, you really want to deep fry your own tofu since the ones sold in the market are most likely dusted with all purpose flour instead of corn starch (or other gluten-free alternatives). Second, when a recipe calls for oyster sauce, the “oyster” part really means it contains oyster. Vegans and vegetarians must use oyster sauce alternative, and the most common substitute is mushroom sauce. But mushroom sauce contains wheat, so if you need it to also be gluten-free, go with mushroom stock. With that out of the way, let’s talk recipe!
- 1 block of firm tofu (~ 14 oz / 400 gram), cut into 6 blocks
- corn starch (*)
- enough oil for deep frying
- 2 tablespoon oil
- ½ (~ 200 gram) onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger, bruised
- 5-8 dried shiitake, soaked in cold water overnight, thinly sliced, reserve 200 ml of soaking water
- 1 tablespoon mushroom sauce (**)
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing/rice wine
- tapioca slurry (1 teaspoon tapioca starch + 1 teaspoon water) (***)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
- Sprinkle tofu blocks with salt and pepper, then dust lightly with corn starch.
- Heat enough oil in a pot for deep frying. Deep fry tofu blocks until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Once cool enough to handle, cut each block into 2-4 smaller blocks. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a wok/large frying pan over medium high heat.
- Sauté onion, garlic, and ginger until fragrant and onion is translucent.
- Add sliced shiitake and mix well. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the reserved 200 ml soaking water, mushroom sauce, soy sauce, salt, and ground pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil.
- Return fried tofu blocks into the wok/frying pan, mix well.
- Once the sauce boils again, add sesame oil and Shaoxing/rice wine. Mix well.
- Add tapioca slurry and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Turn off heat, transfer to a serving plate, and garnish with thinly sliced scallions. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.
(**) Omnivores can use oyster sauce.
(***) Can be substituted with corn starch.