Tofu in Oyster Sauce

  • 450g/1lb firm bean curd (tofu) 
  • 6-8 dried shiitake mushrooms 
  • oil for deep-frying 
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil 
  • 1 tsp corn flour 
  • 120ml (½ cup) vegetable stock, plus 1 Tbsp 
  • 1 tsp Chinese light soy sauce 
  • 2 tsp Chinese dark soy sauce 
  • 2 tsp sugar 
  • 3 Tbsp vegetarian  oyster sauce or vegetarian mushroom condiment.
  1. Rehydrate the dried mushrooms with warm water for 10 minutes or more.
  2. Cut the tofu into slices  0.5 cm x 4 cm x 5 cm (½ in x 1½ in x 2 in).
  3. Cover the cut tofu with two sheets of kitchen absorbent paper and compress lightly. 
  4. Drain the mushrooms and cut off the hard stems.  The stems can be frozen and subsequently used for a delicious dried mushroom floss. Cover the mushrooms until needed.
  5. Heat the oil in a wok or deep-fat fryer over a medium-high heat; it should be about 5cm (2in) deep in the centre of a wok. 
  6. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the bean curd pieces and fry until golden-brown on both sides; this should take about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Remove the bean curd and leave to drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Drain most of the oil from the wok.
  8. Disperse the corn flour with the one tablespoon of vegetable stock in a small bowl. This is used in the last stage of the prparation.
  9. In a separate bowl, combine the light and dark soy sauces, sugar, oyster or mushroom sauce, and the remaining vegetable stock and stir to mix.
  10. Place the wok or large frying pan on the heat source.
  11. Remove the mushrooms from their liquid, squeeze out any excess liquid and add the mushrooms to the garlic. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
  12. Add the bean curd and toss. Pour over the sauce mixture. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer very gently for 7-8 minutes.
  13. Add the peas. Simmer, covered, for a further two minutes.
  14. Remove the lid and take the wok off the heat. Stir the corn flour mixture and pour it into the wok. Return to the heat, stir gently and cook, covered, on a low heat until the sauce has thickened. Add the sesame oil and stir.