Pan Fried Tofu With Mushrooms
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This recipe is adapted from my newest “favorite” cookbook, The Korean Table by Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels. It is slightly salty, slightly spicy, and the meltingly soft tofu combined with crunchy lightly cooked mushrooms is delicious. If you are gluten-free, make sure you carefully read the labels on the soy sauce you use. There are wheat free soy sauces available, but you have to hunt for them! All of the mushrooms are available in San Diego at Whole Foods Markets (check the produce aisle for fresh mushrooms) or at Zion Market. The Korean coarse red pepper flakes can be found at Zion Market. Feel free to substitute ½ tsp red pepper flakes (MUCH spicier!) for the Korean coarse red pepper flakes if you can’t find them. Serve with a simple green salad for a quick and easy meal.

1 lb firm organic tofu
2 Tbsp canola, safflower, or other neutral oil
3 oz rib eye steak, cut into matchstick strips (optional)
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, or 6 rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms, cut into thin strips
1 bunch enoki mushrooms
1 bunch shimeji mushrooms
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp soy scallion dipping sauce

Place tofu on a microwave-safe plate and heat in the microwave for 1 minute, then drain the liquid from the plate. The goal here is to remove liquid from the tofu, not to pre-cook the tofu. If you don’t have a microwave, place the tofu on a plate, cover with another plate and place a ten pound weight on it. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, then drain off the liquid. Cut the tofu in half and in half again to make four pieces.

Heat 1 Tbsp on the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu pieces and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Transfer the tofu to a serving platter.

Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil to the skillet. Add the beet (if using) and mushrooms. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and stir fry for two minutes or until the beef is cooked through and the mushrooms have softened.

Arrange the beef and mushroom mixture on top of the tofu pieces. Drizzle on the Soy Scallion Dipping Sauce (recipe below), and serve immediately.

Soy Scallion Dipping Sauce

¼ cup soy sauce, preferably low sodium, gluten-free
2 Tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbp dark sesame oil
2 tsp Korean coarse red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp crushed roasted sesame seeds (Take 2 Tbsp sesame seeds and place them in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the seeds are lightly browned and start to release their scent. Place seeds in a mini-chopper, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle and crush lightly.)
¼ cup chopped green onion (scallion)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, water and sesame oil.

Add the red pepper flakes, crushed roasted sesame seeds, and scallions. Mix until combined. Store leftovers in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.