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Braised Tofu and Mushrooms (Dau Hu Kho Nam)

Vegetarian's Delight: Braised Tofu and Mushrooms | recipe from runwayrice.comHealthy eating is made easy with this delicious dish of pan-fried tofu cooked in a light and savory sauce. The firm tofu and assorted fresh mushrooms are full of flavor and texture making this dish really hearty and satisfying. Whether you’re a strict vegetarian or like to enjoy an occasional meat-free meal, this is a recipe to bookmark. Enjoy!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

Firm tofu has a meat-like texture and compliments the mushrooms nicely. If using a softer tofu be gentle when pan-frying and handling so it doesn’t break.

Use any type of mushrooms you like in this dish. If fresh mushrooms are difficult to find, the canned ones work well too. In a pinch, I love the canned straw mushrooms. It’s delish!

When pan-frying, I like to use an oil spray and mister bottle to coat the pan and the tofu. I can coat the tofu evenly without using a lot of oil.

As there’s a lot of tofu in this recipe, you’ll most likely have to pan-fry in 2-3 batches.  Leave room in between the tofu pieces to make them easier to rotate them. I like my tofu to have a crispy, golden brown crust. If you want them less crispy, fry just until they are lightly golden.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Tofu and Eggplant Stir-Fry (Dau Hu Xao Ca Tim) and Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir Fry (Dau Hu Xao Sot Chua Ngot).

Ingredients

2-14 oz packages firm tofu
1 lb Baby Bella mushrooms
8 oz oyster mushrooms
1 shallot
1 cup coconut water
2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Remove the tofu from the packaging and gently rinse with cool water. Blot dry using paper towels. Cut the tofu into 3/4-inch cubes.

Separate the oyster mushrooms by cutting close to the root. For the Baby Bella mushrooms, trim off the end of the stem. Cut any larger mushrooms in half or quarters. Rinse the mushrooms with cool water two times. Allow to drain while continuing with the next steps.

Peel and chop the shallots. Set aside in a small bowl for now.

In a measuring cup, add the coconut water, soy sauce and Hoisin sauce. Stir together combining all of the ingredients well.

Heat a large skillet over Medium High heat. Coat the skillet with vegetable oil and then quickly add the tofu cubes leaving some room in between each piece. Cook on the first side for 5 minutes or until golden. Lightly coat the tofu with vegetable oil. Flip the tofu onto the next side and cook for a few minutes or until golden. Continue cooking until all sides are golden. Transfer the tofu to a clean plate.

Heat the same skillet over Medium heat. Add vegetable oil and the shallots and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes drawing out the liquid.

Increase the heat to High and add the sauce. When the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to Medium and add the tofu. Combine together making sure the tofu is evenly coated with the sauce. Cook for 5 more minutes combining occasionally. During this time some of the liquid evaporates and the sauce will thicken. Add freshly ground black pepper.

Serve hot!

Yields: 4 servings

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

Full of flavor and texture: Braised Tofu and Mushrooms (Dau Hu Kho Nam) | recipe from runwayrice.com

Love vegetarian food? Here are a few more dishes to try: Lemongrass Tofu and Rice Noodles (Bun Dau Hu Xao), Vegetarian Spring Rolls (Bi Cuon Chay), Curry Lemongrass Seitan Stir Fry (Mi Can Xao Xa Ot)

*This post contains affiliate links.*

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Jellied Pork (Thịt Đông)

A savory meat jelly made with pork and wood ear mushrooms.

If you are not familiar with this dish, it may look rather unusual.  What is this exactly?  Meat-filled snow globes?  Fossilized pork parts?  Interestingly, this dish of jellied meat is not distinct to just Asian cuisine, but is also popular in Eastern and Western European cuisine as well.  The traditional recipes use meats with cartilage such as hocks, feet, tails, etc., as the cartilage contains the gelatine needed to set the dish.  These recipes are laborious to make because the meats need to be thoroughly cleaned–these choice parts are often not the most sanitary.  Additionally, breaking down cartilage often takes hours of slow cooking.  Thank goodness for packaged gelatine!  Now, we can use a leaner, cleaner cuts of meat, cook the dish in a quarter of the time and still have it solidify beautifully.  As odd as it may appear, this scrumptious dish is full of flavor and contrasting textures.  The savory, grainy pork in comparison to the cold, smooth jelly may confuse your taste buds but once you try this Jellied Pork, your mouth will be begging for more.  🙂

Notes on the recipe, tips and tricks

Use any cut of meat you like but pick something with a little bit of fat which helps the meat to be tender.

We cook the wood ear mushrooms separately and then add to the pork in the final step.  We do this because cooking the mushrooms with the pork turns the broth a murky, brown color which is not so appetizing.

Use any small bowls, cups, molds or pans you have.  In the video, I use 8 small glass bowls from Libbey.

Cover and store any uneaten portions in the refrigerator.  This is best if consumed within the week.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

1 medium carrot
2-inch section fresh ginger
3 shallots
2 lbs pork butt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1/8 oz dried wood ear mushroom slivers
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil + 1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1 packet (.25 oz or 7 gm ) unflavored gelatine

Directions

Peel the carrot and cut 8 coins about 1/4-inch thick.  Use decorative vegetable cutters to make 8 carrot flowers.

Remove the skin from the fresh ginger.  Cut the ends off the shallots, remove the skin and then cut in half.

Cut the pork butt into smaller sections and then cut into slices about 3/4 inch x 1 1/2 inches and approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Place the sliced pork into a bowl and add the sugar, salt, ground white pepper, and 1 tsp minced garlic.  Combine together and let the meat marinate for 15 minutes.

Place the wood ear mushrooms into a microwave-safe bowl and cover with hot water.  Allow to soak for 10 minutes.  Place the bowl into the microwave and cook on High for 4 minutes.  Drain the mushrooms into a colander and rinse with cool water several times.

Heat a pan over Medium High heat and when hot, add the vegetable oil and 1 tsp minced garlic.  Stir-fry for 15 seconds.  Add the pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until it’s just slightly pink.  Add the fish sauce, shallots, ginger and water and combine together.  Cover the pan and increase the heat to High to bring to a boil.  As soon as the broth boils, reduce the heat to Low and skim off all the foam.  Cover the pan again and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pork is tender.

Add the gelatine and stir together.  Turn off the heat, add the wood ear mushrooms and combine together.  Remove the ginger and shallots from the pan and discard.

Center a carrot flower on the bottom of each bowl.  Layer an even amount of pork and mushrooms into each of the small bowls.  Strain the broth into a measuring cup.  Pour the broth into each bowl covering the pork.  Using the back of a spoon, press down on the pork to submerge it in the broth.  Cover the bowls with plastic wrap and then place in the refrigerator.  Chill for 4 hours, overnight is best.

To serve, run a sharp knife around the bowl to loosen the jelly.  Invert the Jellied Pork onto a plate.  Serve with a generous side of Pickled Mustard Greens and hot rice.  Enjoy!

Yields:  8 servings

The contrast of the cold Jellied Pork with the steaming hot rice is to die for!

Jellied Pork (Thit Dong), Pickled Mustard Greens (Dua Cai Chua) and Sticky Rice and Mung Bean Cakes (Banh Chung)

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Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir-Fry (Dau Hu Xao Sot Chua Ngot)

Most of my favorite dishes are sans meat and given the choice, I will pick a meat-free dish the majority of the time.  And so, I am always looking for delicious and easy to make vegetarian dishes.  My love of veggies and stir-frying makes this Sweet and Sour Tofu Stir-Fry one of my go-to dishes.

I had to think long and hard about this recipe because every time I make this dish it’s different.  I vary the veggies based on what I have in my refrigerator and when I stir fry, anything and everything goes!  This dish is probably more aptly named ‘Clean Out the Fridge Stir-Fry’…lol.  So, feel free to use whatever veggies you like.  If you want to save on the prep time, use frozen veggies or the packaged vegetable medleys.

The sweet and sour sauce is what pulls this dish together.  We use pineapple chunks and the juice to make it deliciously sweet.  You may be thinking adding pineapples to a stir-fry is “different”.   Well, I can’t wait until you try it! 🙂  Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

12 oz extra-firm tofu
2 stalks celery
1 small red bell pepper
1 small green bell pepper
1 carrot
1/4 sweet onion
1/4 lb cremini mushrooms
8 oz can pineapple chunks
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

for the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetarian stir fry sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp sugar

Directions

Cut tofu into small pieces approximately 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick.  (Don’t cut it too small or it will fall apart when stir frying.)

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.  Gently drop in tofu, a few pieces at a time.  Allow the water to come to a boil again.  Transfer tofu to colander and allow to drain.

Cut celery, bell peppers, carrots, onions and mushrooms to a similar size and thickness.

Drain pineapple juice into a measuring cup.  Add in all ingredients for sweet and sour sauce and stir until smooth and well combined.

Heat a wok over high heat until hot.  Add vegetable oil and minced garlic.  Stir fry quickly for a few seconds.  Reduce heat to Medium.  Add carrots.  Add 2 Tbsp of water and stir fry for 3 minutes.  Add celery and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add both kinds of peppers and onions and toss together.  Add 2-3 Tbsp of water to help soften the vegetables.  Stir fry for another 2-3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and stir fry for another minute.  Add tofu and pineapple chunks and gently toss together.  Season with black and red pepper.  Spread tofu and veggies evenly in wok making a thin layer.  Drizzle sweet and sour sauce on tofu coating it well then pour the remaining marinade into the stir fry.  Gently toss together.  Cook until sauce thickens, approximately 3-4 more minutes.

Serve hot over white or brown rice or as a side dish.

Yields: 2-4 servings

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