Tofu is very high in protein content and a good source of getting it. I love tofu very much but my husband and son do not like tofu as they could not digest it. Well, many Indians can digest many beans and lentils except soybeans. Like some Chinese are unable to digest some type of lentils, beans and dairy products very well. Chinese communities love tofu and they use them in savory or sweet dishes. I often used them for both type of dishes. This dish I am introducing is very popular in the Chinese cuisine and a comfort food for many Southeast Asian countries. It is available at any food courts and restaurants in those areas. Normally, the dish is not too spicy but being a Nyonya, I prefer the sauce to be a little spicier. You can adjust to your taste and you can even omit it completely.
2 14oz pack firm tofu, drained, rinsed and cut in cubes
3½ cups sliced white button mushroom
¼ cup frozen mixed peas and carrots, thawed, boil to cook, drained
1 small can sliced water chestnut (optional)
6 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2½ teaspoons dark soy sauce
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar or Chinese black vinegar
½ cup No MSG chicken broth/water
2 teaspoon cornstarch/tapioca flour
2 teaspoons raw sugar
½ -¾ teaspoon crushed Szechuan red chili pepper or crushed red pepper or to your taste (optional)
1½ teaspoons sesame oil
4½ tablespoons canola/vegetable/corn oil, divided
Heat a wok with a flat base or a frying skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1½ tablespoon canola/vegetable/corn oil and swirl oil, add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add sliced mushrooms and stir-fry until just beginning to wilt. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk tomato paste, chicken broth/water, dark soy sauce, balsamic/Chinese black vinegar, cornstarch/tapioca flour, raw sugar and crushed Szechuan red chili pepper. Set aside.
Return wok/frying skillet to the heat and add in the remaining canola/vegetable/corn oil. Swirl the oil around the wok/frying pan to coat and add the tofu and pan-fry until it begins to brown on both sides. Swirl in the Szechuan sauce and cooked mushrooms, increase heat to high and stir-fry until the tofu just heated through and coated, 45-60 seconds. Add the peas and carrots and give a light stir. Dish out and serve.
Note: Omit chicken broth if you are using this recipe as a vegetarian dish.