Chilies mellow and lose some of their heat when pickled. I didn’t know that until yesterday. What chemical magic happens to the chilies, I have no idea. I won’t even bang my head worrying about it. The relevant thing here is that the mellow chilies make a wonderful ingredient for braised tofu and mushrooms as the cooked dish comes out with a hint of heat.
I made this vegan tofu and mushrooms with pickled chilies and onions dish for Sam last Sunday. Yep, there’s too much in that bowl for one person. What she didn’t finish, I added pan fried pork belly the next day for us omnivores.
I used firm tofu for this dish — the local tokwa, to be more precise, from the neighborhood taho vendor who delivers tokwa ordered in advance. Sam loves straw mushrooms above all other varieties so straw mushrooms were what went with the tofu. The sauce was made with the liquid from the pickled chilies to which I added garlic and ginger. Overall, the dish was sweet and sour with a little heat.
Check out the posts on homemade pickled red onions, chilies and cucumbers and frying tokwa first before cooking this dish.
Tofu and mushrooms with pickled chilies and onions
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon chili sauce
- 1/3 cup pickled chilies
- 1 and 1/2 cups pickling solution
- 2 teaspoons tapioca starch or corn or potato starch dispersed in 2 tsps. of water
- 150 grams firm tofu cut into 2-inch cubes, then fried until golden
- 10 straw mushrooms
- 1 heap pickled red onions
- toasted sesame seeds to garnish
- sliced scallions to garnish
- Heat the cooking oil. Saute the garlic and ginger just until fragrant.
- Pour in the soy sauce and chili sauce.
- Add the pickled chilies and pickling solution. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir in the starch solution.
- Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and clear.
- Add the cooked tofu and mushrooms. Cover and simmer for about ten minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings.
- Transfer the cooked dish to a serving bowl. Pile the pickled red onions on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve hot with rice.