Silken Tofu With Spicy Sausage

[Photograph: Shao Z.

There are many homey Chinese recipes based on simply steaming silken-style tofu and topping it with a simple sauce of sautéed meat with a light gravy. I wondered what would happen if I replaced that meat with some spicy Italian-style sausage from my local American supermarket. It works shockingly well.

Why this recipe works:

  • Soaking dried shiitake mushrooms in water and using that mushroom water as a sauce ingredients gives it an instant flavor boost.
  • Traditionally, plain minced pork would need to be marinated for hours to infused with flavor. By using store-bought sausage, the flavor comes already packed in.

Note: It's important to use soft silken tofu for this recipe and to handle it very gently so that it doesn't break apart.

About the Author: I was born in Guangzhou, the birthplace of dim sum, and raised in the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia. As a sibling-less child, cooking was a way to cure after school snack attacks and a way to keep myself entertain. That's how my love for food and cooking started, and it continues to grow. I blog at friedwontons4u.com and I am on twitter @friedwontons4u.

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Silken Tofu With Spicy Sausage

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as part of a multi-course meal
Active time:25 minutes
Total time:25 minutes
Special equipment:Skillet, steamer
This recipe appears in: Chinese-American Mashup: Silken Tofu With Spicy Sausage
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 5 whole dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage (about 2 links), removed from casings and crumbled
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 (20-ounce) box soft silken tofu
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Steamed white rice for serving

Procedures

  1. 1

    Combine dried mushrooms and boiling water in a small bowl. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms, squeeze out excess liquid (reserving all liquid), and slice. Set aside mushrooms and liquid.

  2. 2

    Combine sausage with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and sugar. Set aside.

  3. 3

    Place a steamer insert into a large Dutch oven and fill with 1 inch of water. Bring to a simmer. Upend tofu onto a shallow plate and carefully drain off excess water. Place plate in steamer, cover, and allow tofu to steam until hot, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from steamer, carefully pour or spoon off excess water, tent with foil, and set aside.

  4. 4

    Combine reserved mushroom liquid, remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, remaining teaspoon soy sauce, oyster sauce, and cornstarch in a small bowl and mix with a fork to combine. Set aside. Heat sausage and sliced mushrooms in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring and breaking up sausage, until just starting to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Re-stir sauce mixture then pour into skillet and heat, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute.

  5. 5

    Uncover tofu and pour sauce over it. Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro and serve with white rice on the side.

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