Red-cooked Tofu with Chinese Mushrooms

Red-cooked is a term applied to Chinese dishes cooked with a dark soy sauce. This tasty dish can be served as either a side dish or main meal.


serves 4
225 g (8 oz) firm tofu
45 ml (3 tbsp) dark soy sauce
30 ml (2 tbsp) Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
10 ml (2 tsp) soft dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed
15 ml (1 tbsp) grated fresh root ginger
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) Chinese five-spice powder
pinch of ground roasted Szechuan peppercorns
6 dried Chinese black mushrooms
5 ml (1 tsp) cornflour
30 ml (2 tbsp) groundnut oil
5 - 6 spring onions, sliced into 2.5 cm (1 in) lengths, white and green parts separated
small fresh basil leaves, to garnish
rice noodles, to serve


1. Drain the tofu, pat dry with kitchen paper and cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes. Place in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, sugar, garlic, ginger, five-spice powder and Szechuan peppercorns. Pour the marinade over the tofu, toss well and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the marinade.

2. Meanwhile soak the dried black mushrooms in warm water for 20 - 30 minutes until soft. Drain, reserving 90 ml (6 tbsp) of the soaking liquid. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the mushrooms, remove the tough stalks and slice the caps. In a small bowl, blend the cornflour with the reserved marinade and mushroom soaking liquid.

3. Heat a wok until hot, add the oil and swirl it around. Add the tofu and stir-fry for 2 - 3 minutes until evenly golden. Remove from the wok and set aside.

4. Add the mushrooms and white parts of the spring onions to the wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the marinade mixture and stir for 1 minute until thickened.

5. Return the tofu to the wok with the green parts of the spring onions. Simmer gently for 1 - 2 minutes. Scatter over the basil leaves and serve at once with rice noodles.

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