Dong Gu Tofu - Chinese Tofu with Winter Mushrooms

Friday, April 15, 2011

food painting for the vegetarian cookbook by Fiona Morgan
Satisfying. Quick. Easy. Homely.


Food painting artwork

30 x 30cm oil on linen. Celebrating the distinctive white cracking pattern of the top of the winter shiitake mushroom. If you take a look at my previous post on the Edwardian photographer and professional gardener Charles Jones, you will see the inspiration for this painting. I wanted to do the painting equivalent of his gentle yet powerful moments with vegetables.

By the way, all the food painting artwork is available to own in the Official Art Store.


The meatless meals recipe

Dong gu simply means winter mushroom, which is a member of the shiitake mushroom family. Shiitake is the Japanese name. The Chinese call shiitake, xiang gu. Regular shiitake look like this:

Photo by fschroiff

Dong gu mushrooms are known in English as winter mushrooms, as this is when they are grown, and also as Chinese black mushroom and black forest mushroom. They have a cracking pattern on their cap, like this: 

Photo by avlxyz

For the purposes of this recipe it does not really matter which variety of shiitake mushroom you use. Just so you know, the origins of this dish are from pairing winter bamboo shoots and winter mushroom.

Thanks to Wikipedia for a bit of clarification, Red Cook for some useful background and fschroiff and avlxyz for the photos.

Now on to the tasty part...

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 tablespoon plum sauce
1/3 cup stock
1/8 cup soy sauce
2 pinches ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry
1/2 tablespoon cornflour
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 spring onions cut on the diagonal to let out maximum onion flavour
3 shiitake or Chinese black mushrooms - fresh is best but rehydrated is ok too. De-stem and slice
70g other mushrooms, sliced
2 pinches salt
about 100g bamboo shoots, sliced
70g snowpeas or 140g leafy greens, shredded
about 300g silken tofu, the firmer the better, cut into 1cm cubes

In a bowl, mix the hoisin, plum, stock, soy sauce, white pepper, sugar, sherry and cornflour. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Heat the oil in a pan. Add spring onion and soften.
Add mushrooms and salt.
Cook for a few minutes until softened. Add more oil if needed.
Add the other vegetables, mix, and lower the heat.
Stir the sauce mix and pour into the pan. 
Stir until the vegetables are cooked and the sauce has thickened. It may need to be brought to a simmer.
Carefully fold in the tofu. 
Simmer until the tofu is warmed through. Add a lid here, it helps speed this step up.
Add more stock if the sauce thickens too much.

Serves 2 on rice.


More vegetarian cookbook goodies

Need help with conversions? Download this handy dandy pdf of cooking conversion charts for every cooking measuring system I could find. It should make your life easier.

Want to check out more vegetarian dinner recipes? They're all in the Table of Contents.

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