I love anything that is cooked in a clay pot or sand pot, and this Clay Pot Tofu is the quintessential example of this cooking method. I especially love making clay pot dishes in the winter time—the sight of a steaming hot clay pot cooking on my stove top just warms my heart as I anticipate the hot, delicious, and comforting meal. Chinese-style clay pots can be purchased at Chinese or Asian supermarkets or online. Don’t fret if you don’t have a clay pot, because a wok, stir-fry pan, or skillet will also produce satisfactory results for this Clay Pot Tofu dish.
Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 block (1 lb/500 g) soft or medium tofu, rinsed oil, for deep-frying
- 2 tablespoons oil
- One 1 in (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin pieces
- 4 shelled and deveined medium-sized raw shrimp
- 2 oz (50 g) canned baby corns, rinsed
- 2 oz (50 g) Chinese (napa) cabbage, cut into small pieces
- 2 oz (50 g) snow peas, tips and strings removed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 dashes white pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Mix all the ingredients in the Sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in warm water in a small bowl until it becomes soft. Squeeze the mushrooms dry with your hand, discard the stems, and cut the mushroom caps into halves.
- Cut the tofu into medium-sized pieces, drain the water from the tofu, pat dry, and set aside.
- Heat 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of the oil in a wok or stockpot to 350°F (175°C) for deep-frying. Gently drop the tofu into the oil and loosen them up immediately with the spatula to prevent the tofu from clumping together.
- Deep-fry the tofu to a light golden brown. Dish out with a strainer or slotted spoon, draining the excess oil by laying the tofu on a dish lined with paper towels. Discard or reserve the oil for use in another recipe.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a clay pot over high heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry to a light brown before adding the shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and baby corn. Stir a few times until the shrimp is half cooked. Add the tofu, Chinese cabbage and snow peas and stir gently with the spatula to combine the ingredients well. Make sure not to break the tofu.
- Add the Sauce, lower the heat, cover the clay pot with its lid. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Uncover the clay pot lid and stir a few times until all the ingredients are well coated with the Sauce. Dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.
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