Bean Curd with Mushrooms

This is a purely vegetarian dish. It is refreshing and therefore most welcome when served as the last course after a big and rich feast.

4-6 medium-sized dried mushrooms (or 4 oz / 100 g fresh mushrooms)
4 cakes bean curd
3-4 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp rice wine or sherry
a few drops sesame seed oil
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp light soy sauce

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for about 30 minutes, then squeeze them dry and discard the stalks – but keep the water for use as stock. Slice each square of bean curd into slices ¼ in (6 mm) thick, then cut each slice into 6 or 8 pieces.

First stir-fry the mushrooms in very hot oil for about ½ minute, then add about ¼ pint (140 ml) of the water in which the mushrooms have been soaking. Bring to the boil and add the bean curd with the salt, sugar and wine, stirring very gently to blend everything well. Let it bubble for about 1-1½ minutes, then add the sesame seed oil. (Make sure that there is enough liquid to prevent the bean curd sticking to the bottom of the wok.) Finally, mix the cornflour and soy sauce with a little water, pour it all over the bean curd so that it forms a clear, light glaze, and serve immediately.

© Deh-Ta Hsiung and reproduced with his kind permission.