Now that the holidays are over it’s back to eating less meat, which means more vegetarian meals. I’ve always loved mushu anything, and was very impressed with the addictive veggie mushu made at a great vegan Chinese restaurant in Mountain View. I hoped that I could vaguely recreate it at home, and I think was fairly successful.
I can’t say this recipe is super quick. It’s easy to eat, but it takes quite a bit of prep to cook. The main reason is that the way to integrate the tofu in this recipe the best, texture-wise, is to marinate and fry it in oil. You could, however, save yourself some time by using precut carrots and cabbage. Also, I find it’s best to put each of the ingredients into a bowl after you’ve prepped them, because wok cooking requires you to add things quickly and keep everything moving.
Luckily Chinese food is great leftover and this recipe makes a lot!
Serves at least 3 hungry individuals!
- 1/2 block Trader Joe’s Extra Firm High Protein Tofu (or probably 1/3 of a larger container of another brand of extra firm tofu)
- 5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2-1 cup dried wood ear mushroom/black fungus (optional, but present in most mushu recipes in restaurants)
- soy sauce
- five spice powder (optional, not pictured)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2″ chunk of fresh ginger
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 small green cabbage
- 2 small carrots
- 3 green onions
- peanut oil (or another high smoke point oil) for frying (not pictured)
- rice wine
- (optional: serve with rice or mushu pancakes and hoisin sauce.)
1. Prepare the tofu. Cut the tofu into thin strips, about 3″ long and 1/4″ wide (as shown in the picture). Place in a bowl and marinate in a mixture of soy sauce and five spice powder. Set aside, but stir occasionally to make sure the tofu marinates evenly.
2. Prepare the mushrooms. Remove the stems from the dried shiitake mushrooms (I forgot to do that, but it’s easier to do when they’re dried). Rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms and the black fungus by placing them in two separate bowls of water and microwaving them for 1-2 minutes then letting them sit for a minute or two. Drain off the water. Slice the shiitake mushrooms into strips like the tofu, then stir them into the tofu mixture.
4. Prepare the vegetables. Shred the cabbage into shreds about 1/2″ wide. Cut the carrots into thin strips, about 3″ in length. Chop the green onions crosswise (after removing the ends), about 1/2″ thick.
8. Add about 1-2″ of peanut oil to the wok and turn up the heat to high. When a drop of water pops when dropped into the oil, your oil is ready. Add the tofu/mushroom mixture and stir frequently. The oil should be sizzling and bubbling around the tofu.
9. When the tofu/mushroom strips look nicely browned and kind of crispy, carefully remove it from the oil and allow it to drain on the paper towel, spreading the mixture out. You want the tofu to be pretty browned and crispy looking, but not black!
10. Turn off the heat. Remove some of the oil from the wok (carefully and safely!) Leave just a little splash in the bottom. Turn the heat back on high. Add the beaten eggs. Let them sit for a few seconds so they start cooking on the bottom, then keep the moving around. They should be scrambled, but try to make the scrambles small chunks. Ideally, they’ll be strip-like, like the tofu and mushrooms. When cooked, remove to a bowl. (A little underdone is better than overdone.)
11. Add another splash of oil to the wok. Add your ginger and green onions. Keep them moving around, and only sautee them for a few seconds. Then quickly add in all the vegetables and the wood ear/black fungus mushrooms EXCEPT the green onions. Stir it all up and make sure the garlic and ginger is mixed in well.
12. Add a splash of rice wine. Mix it in. This liquid helps cook the veggies, but evaporates quickly because it’s alcohol leaving no extra liquid. Stir frequently, making sure everything keeps moving and nothing sticks to the bottom, and keep cooking the veggies until the cabbage just starts to turn translucent, just a few minutes at most if your wok is hot enough.
14. Add the eggs and green onions. Stir in. Add a dash of soy sauce if you’re a salt lover and a sprinkle of MSG if you’re an MSG lover. Keep it moving. Once the carrots are no longer crunchy, it’s done! Turn off the heat!
15. Serve with a squeeze of hoisin sauce and brown rice or mushu pancakes, whatever your heart desires. Or just eat it as is!