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This is a delicious recipe is from Greensboro's excellent restaurant "Boba House", where it is one of the most popular items on the menu. It's a vegetarian version of a traditional Szechuan dish with soft tofu sautéed with mushrooms, peas, carrots, and "beef" chunks in a mildly spicy sauce. Both the tofu and the mushrooms need soaking time. If you don't have brown bean sauce, substitute a mild brown miso, mixed with a bit of water to make a softer mixture (halfway between a sauce and a paste).
- 1⁄2 cup dried shiitake mushroom
- 0.5 (16 ounce) package tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons seasoned vegetable broth
- 4 teaspoons chili oil (for a less spicy dish, sub. a neutral oil)
- 1 tablespoon brown bean sauce
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oriental sesame oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1⁄2 cup vegetarian ground beef or 1⁄2 cup vegetarian beef strips, diced
- 3⁄4 cup fresh peas and carrots or 3⁄4 cup frozen peas and carrot
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- Cover the mushrooms with hot water and let stand 1 hour. Drain and cut into 1/8-inch pieces. Set aside.
- Place the tofu in a large sieve. Bring 8 cups (2 L) of water to a boil. Pour into a metal bowl just larger than the sieve and place the sieve inside. Let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Mix 5 tablespoons. of cold water with the broth, chili oil, bean sauce, cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or heavy, large skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the mushroom pieces and “beef” and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir the broth mixture and add to the wok with the peas and carrots. Stir-fry until reaches a boil, about 1 minute. Add the tofu and toss gently to coat. Cook 2 1/2 minutes, tossing gently.
- Divide between plates. Garnish with the cilantro and sprinkle with the pepper.