Gluten Free Chinese Recipes: Deep Fried Tofu and Mushroom Stir Fry Recipe

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a religious studies class on sacred mountains in Asia and found myself watching a video called The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei about Tendai Monks at Mount Hiei that perform austerities including 1000-day marathons in order to attain Buddhahood. You may be wondering what connection this bit of trivia has to a post about food. As it happens, in the video there was a section on the monk’s vegetarian meals at the monastery. They begin their days with miso soup, delectable crispy fried tofu, and if I remember correctly, perfectly steamed white rice. As I looked at the crispy blocks of tofu on the screen, I was inspired. Previously I had planned to make a vegetarian version of Japanese-style gyuu don (beef bowl on rice) with mushrooms and onions, but it occurred to me that if I combined the idea of gyuu-don with fried tofu, I could make a Chinese-type saute with a delectable savory mushroom sauce. I stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home from my class and picked up some firm tofu and a box of fresh crimini mushrooms. I used my favorite vegetable boullion cubes as a base for the sauce to reduce sodium and add flavor, and combined it with sake, maple syrup for sweetener, chili garlic sauce for a little heat, and sesame oil for earthy depth. The barest tipple of wheat-free tamari added saltiness, but if you don’t have any on hand, a little gourmet salt will work just as well. The meal was a success with the DH, and it perfectly satisfied my craving for delicious vegetarian fare. It just goes to show- you never know when inspiration for your next gluten-free masterpiece will strike next!

What’s the last thing you saw that inspired you to experiment in the kitchen? Share in the comments!

P.S. I know lately the Book of Yum has been focused more on “gluten-free adventures” than gluten-free recipes. But, I’m happy to tell you that I’m back on the recipe kick and we’ll have a new and improved focus on yummy, gluten-free recipes from now on! Enjoy. :)

Try more Book of Yum Tofu Recipes!
Vegetarian Sesame Tofu Recipe
Ginger Tofu with Agave Peanut Sauce Recipe
Peanut Tofu Recipe with Coconut Rice

Chinese Deep Fried Tofu with Mushrooms in dark sauce Recipe
1 package firm tofu
1/2 white or yellow onion, thickly sliced
1 pkg. crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (from bullion or from scratch)
2 healthy glugs of sake
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 small glug of wheat-free tamari (start with 1 tsp)
1 small glug of sesame oil (start with 1 tsp)
1 small glug of maple syrup (start with 1 tsp)
1 tbsp. cornstarch

pickled red ginger strips
sesame seeds
rice, to serve

lg. quantity peanut oil or canola oil for deep frying

Slice tofu and cut into rectangles or cubes (to taste). Press between kitchen towels for 30 minutes. Dust with cornstarch. Heat 2-3 inches of peanut oil in deep fryer or small/medium pot (preferably one with tall sides) and deep fry tofu in small batches in the pot, turning occasionally with a all metal slotted spoon or tongs. When tofu is evenly golden brown remove it to a wire rack and let cool, continuing to deep fry remaining tofu.

Heat a wok or cast iron pan to medium or medium high and add a small amount of peanut or canola oil, swirling it around the pan. When it is hot, add a single layer of sliced mushrooms. Add salt and pepper and let mushrooms brown nicely on one side and then turn them. Do NOT move them around on the pan. After all mushrooms have been cooked (probably in multiple batches) remove them to a bowl and add a little more peanut or canola oil to the pan. Toss on your onion slices and let them brown slowly and start to caramelize. You may want to lower the heat slightly.

Meanwhile, combine your veg stock, sake, chili garlic sauce, tamari, sesame oil and maple syrup in a small bowl. Whisk and then whisk in cornstarch.

When onions seem to have softened and caramelized slightly, toss in the mushrooms and let them cook a few more minutes. Add your drained deep fried tofu to the pan. Whisk your sauce one more time and pour into the pan over the tofu, reserving a little sauce. Raise the heat slightly and let it start to bubble. If it hasn’t thickened enough, add a little more cornstarch to your reserved sauce, whisk it in and then add to your pan. Let the mixture bubble and thicken to your taste and then serve.

I served mine on short grain white rice (but brown would be good too) and sprinkled it with sesame seeds and pickled ginger strips.

It was soooo good. Just what I wanted.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

6 Responses to “Gluten Free Chinese Recipes: Deep Fried Tofu and Mushroom Stir Fry Recipe”

  1. [...] week I posted a really delicious recipe for a deep fried tofu Chinese Stir Fry and shared our Experience at the Tomatofest Heirloom Tomato Festival in Carmel, [...]

  2. Oh sea, this looks absolutely mouthwatering. Will totally show my recipe for Dragon Phoenix Paradise! Keep a look out.

  3. Came here searching for mushroom recipes. I love tofu and have seen many fried and grilled tofu recipes but never tried them for fear of damaging the shape. Which brand of tofu did you use? The mori-nu firm tofu breaks with just a little bit of stirring! How do you keep the shape? Would appreciate any tips! Thanks!

  4. Hi Sunshine Mom,
    I almost never use mori-nu type tofu in the special long-life packaging. I don’t care for the flavor or the texture. It is way, way too delicate. Instead, I use Chinese style firm or extra firm tofu in the plastic packages with water, found in the refrigerator case of Health or asian food markets. Longlife/ white wave is a good health food brand if you can’t find others. Once you have a good, strong tofu you can either press it in a towel for 30 minutes (sliced horizontally) or boil it to improve texture. I usually press it. Either of these techniques will help get the water out of your tofu and make it even easier to work with. Deep fried tofu has a very strong texture- it’s still soft inside but has a seal on the outside that makes it very easy to work with. Pressed, grilled tofu is also really yummy (I have a great recipe on the blog) and pretty doable, as long as you’re careful when turning it on the grill. (It can stick if grill isn’t oiled properly). Hope this helps. My main tip- change tofu brands! :) Good luck with your tofu experiments.


  5. You can also try extra firm tofu, or trader Joe’s extra protein firm tofu. Both are extra sturdy.


  6. [...] found this delicious recipe from the Book of Yum blog, and adapted it to include some stir-fried [...]

Leave a Reply