My grandfather loves this quick and easy braised tofu (hongshao dofu) at the modest Cantonese restaurant on Division Street in Chinatown. I’ve got to give props to my dad; this is a seriously authentic handmade version.
I can’t think of a more infamous meal with such a high level of deliciousness than tofu. It can take on the flavor of whatever you put on it, and it comes in a wide range of textures.
If you omit the oyster sauce or substitute a vegetarian oyster sauce, you can make this dish meat-free and vegan. At all. In exchange for this, I would gladly forego a chunk of barbecued steak. It will take you no more than ten minutes total to stand at the stove.
- 1 pound of medium firm tofu
- 1 thinly sliced small carrot
- 1 sliced small red bell pepper
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 1 ½ cups of chicken stock
- 1 cup of washed and trimmed snow peas
- ¼ cup of fresh sliced shiitake mushrooms
- ¼ cup of sliced bamboo shoots
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 tablespoon of shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- In a separate bowl, create a slurry by combining the cornstarch and water. Tofu should be cut into half-inch thick slices after being drained of extra liquid. Prepare your mushroom slices by washing them thoroughly. To prepare dried mushrooms for slicing, just rinse four of them, soak them in boiling water for an hour, then remove the stems.
- Combine the stock, oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and salt to make a stock combination.
- Start by heating the oil in a wok over high heat.
- Create a single layer of tofu in the wok. About a minute should be spent searing each side. If you need more time to flip the tofu, reduce the heat to medium.
- After one more minute, combine the stock and mushrooms. If the temperature isn’t already high, turn it up to that setting. So that the tofu doesn’t stick, shake the wok.
- Cook for 5 minutes at a medium simmer after bringing the ingredients to a boil. It’s important that some of the liquid drains out.
- Take off the lid, crank up the temperature, and throw in your veggies. Carefully toss them together with the tofu, taking precautions to avoid shattering the tofu. Add the cornstarch slurry quickly, a little at a time, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the tofu and vegetables.
- To thin a sauce, simply add more liquid, such as water or stock. More slurry should be added if the mixture is too thin. One last toss, and it’s ready to be served alongside steamed rice.