I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – no one cooks better vegetarian and vegan food than countries in Asia. Some of my favorite foods are vegetarian and vegan: karela chips, traditional Bibimbap, tofu of all kinds, any vegetarian Indian curry. I remember being on my honeymoon in Sri Lanka and feasting on a dozen or more different kinds of vegetarian curries with neither my husband nor I going back for more of the chicken curry. Who wanted it? It didn’t have the same depth of flavor that the banana flower curry or aubergine or any other plant based curry had.
In Asia, people know how to cook vegetables. They know how to handle them and they have a plethora of spices, seasonings and sauces to go with them. Case in point, Chinese fermented soybean paste. It might look a little scary but nothing brings quite the umami as much as this paste when it is added to things like noodles, tofu and vegetables. So, if you think vegetarian or vegan food can be a little boring, try this recipe. It’ll make you consider a trip to this delicious part of the world.
3-4 large king oyster mushrooms or 10-20 shitake mushrooms
300g (10.5 oz) firm tofu
2 tbsp ginger (sliced)
2 tbsp garlic (sliced)
1 tbsp Chinese fermented soybean paste (minced)
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
Cut tofu and mushrooms into chunks and thinly slice both the ginger and garlic. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine 1 tbsp Chinese fermented soybean paste, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp soy sauce. Mix together until thoroughly combined and set aside.
In a large wok, heat 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil on high heat. When oil is hot, add the tofu and fry until slightly browned and crispy.
Add ginger and garlic and stir for a minute or two until fragrant.
Add mushrooms and stir-fry on high heat for 2-3 minutes until everything is cooked and crisp.
Add the soybean sauce mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated. Cook for 1-2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.