This recipe was pretty good, especially given it’s a vegan take on a dish where meat’s a pretty essential ingredient (even if you don’t use a ton of it). John and I weren’t completely sold on the silken tofu – I understand why the recipe uses it, but we don’t tend to at home, so the texture was a little off-putting (once mine broke up a bit, it was fine, though; it kind of just blends into the sauce). I’d make it again (particularly now that I have a bunch of the chile paste), but I’ll probably end up trying their non vegan one first.
This recipe looks intimidating on paper, but it’s more the grocery shopping than anything else. Some of the ingredients are hard to find in the Asian grocery store (at least, they were at my H Mart, which admittedly is Korean) and I ended up not using the optional ones (one I couldn’t find; the other was sold in really large quantities so I didn’t bother) and substituting a little here or there. I don’t think it was enough to dramatically impact the recipe, but who knows. It’s actually a pretty straightforward stir fry when you cook it, beyond having to rehydrate the mushrooms and such.
4 whole dried woodear mushrooms (I substituted shitake because I’m not a huge woodear fan, even though I found something labeled “fungus” at H Mart that looked close)
1/4 oz dried morels or porcini mushrooms (I used the latter)
1 piece of kombu, optional (I did not use)
1.5 cups boiling water
6 oz button mushrooms, quartered (I used these plus a few oyster mushrooms thrown in)
vegetable oil (the recipe called for 1/3 cup. I used less than this originally but ended up adding a little more oil to the pan later, so it’s hard to say exact quantity. Feel free to stick with the recipe, though it seemed like a lot to me)
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (I used Sherry; I thought I had Shaoxing at home but guess I’m out)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp whole Sichuan peppercorns, half ground in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle
2 whole dried Chinese chiles (I used Indian ones?)
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 tbsp ginger, grated
4 scallions, chopped (whites and greens separate)
12 Chinese chives, cut into 1/2 inch segments (says you can use regular chives, but these I actually found)
3 tbsp minced yacai, optional (didn’t use)
2 tbsp fermented chili broad bean paste (I used “chile bean sauce”, toban dijan, which was the closest I found, but Internet searching seemed to indicate it was pretty similar)
2 tbsp chile oil
1.5 pounds medium to firm sliken tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I just used a package, which was more like a pound)
Add boiling water to dried mushrooms. Rehydrate for 10 minutes. Reserve 3/4 mushroom water.
Put fresh mushrooms in food processor and chop (6-8 pulses). Add oil to pan and cook 6-10 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve oil (I added more oil here because I had used less originally and didn’t get much back from the mushrooms).
Add cornstarch, wine and soy sauce to mushroom liquid. Chop rehydrated mushrooms.
Add whole peppercorns and dried chilis to oil in pan. Cook for a couple minutes, until fragrant. Strain and reserve oil.
Reheat oil. Add garlic, ginger, scallion whites, chives and yacai (if using) to pan. Stir fry a minute or so. Add mushrooms and stir fry another minute or two. Add chile paste/sauce and cook another minute or so. Stir in liquid and let reduce about 2 minutes. Add tofu and heat through. Garnish with chili oil and ground peppercorns and scallion greens. Serve over rice.