Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tofu and Pork with Mushrooms & Peas

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It is a mystery to me, but this is one of my daughter Lindsey’s favorite dinners. I make this point because she hates mushrooms and always picks them out of anything that she is eating with a disgusted look on her face as she picks through her food.

So the surprise is that the main flavor of this dish is the shitake mushrooms with a hint of button mushrooms. I think it may be the texture of the mushrooms that freak her out rather than the flavor. I always cut the mushrooms in large chunks so she can sift through and scoop around them. I did tell her that the dish wouldn’t be the same without the mushrooms and she gives me a bit of a yah, yah, yah and still request it.

This is a wonderfully fast and easy one pot meal that is packed with a variety of flavors and textures.  The pork in the back ground, the meaty chew of the mushrooms, the pop of the peas and just enough spice to give it a bit of a kick. After you make it once, you can adjust the chili garlic sauce to your own personal spicy preference. For my family one teaspoon is plenty of heat.
The trick to making this dish fast and easy is putting all of the sauce ingredients and thickener together in a measuring cup and adding it in at the end to finish the dish instead of attempting to have all the seasoning separate, fumbling with the measuring spoons while your dish is burning.

***Update 5/2012 - I made this for dinner with a couple of changes and wanted to share them with you.  I used soft tofu instead of firm and didn't drain it, I just cubed it and added it at the end.  The soft tofu gave this dish a delicate custard like bite.  I also minced the ginger (about 1/2 Tbsp.) and a clove of garlic and cooked it into the meat along with about 1 Tbsp. chopped green onion.  Other than that everything is the same.  Those few changes really kicked up the flavor of this tried and true dish.

TOFU with PORK and MUSHROOMS
1 pound ground pork
1 block firm tofu, 14 – 16 oz.
3 slices ginger
5 whole button mushroom, cut in quarters
7 whole dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and cut in half
1 cup frozen peas
SAUCE
2 ½ cups shitake mushroom water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 Tbsp. Kikkoman soy sauce
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
1.      Fill a 4 cup measuring cup with about 3 cups of hot tap water and place shitake mushroom in the water for 15 - 20 minutes to soften.
2.     Cut the tofu into bite size cubes and set on paper towels or in a colander to drain out some of the moisture.
3.     Remove the shitake mushrooms from the water and gently squeeze out the water back into the measuring cup so you end up with 2 ½ cups of mushroom water.
4.     In the measuring cup with the mushroom water add the cornstarch, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sherry, chili garlic sauce and kosher salt; set aside.
5.     Heat a wok or large skillet on high and brown the pork with the ginger. Drain out the extra fat. Return the pan to the stove and add the mushrooms, tofu and cook for 3 – 5 min.
6.     Mix the mushroom water well to dissolve the cornstarch and pour over the pork and tofu.
7.     Bring to a boil while stirring gently to allow the sauce to thicken. Add the frozen peas and stir to mix.
8.    Garnish with green onions.


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