Braised tofu with peppers and mushrooms in black bean sauce

Chinese black bean sauce is simply the easiest way to make any dish shine.

Fermented black beans (豆豉)are one of the key ingredients in Cantonese cooking, among many others such as fermented red bean curd (南乳), sweet pickled radish(菜脯)and salted black olives(欖角). These are all the delicious ingredients I grew up eating. They just make everything taste so much better!

This tofu dish was inspired by one of my favorite dim sum dishes. In most restaurants, there is always one trolley where the dim sum lady pan fries a selection of items (upon request) as she strolls around. In her trolley, there’s usually cheong fan (rice rolls), taro cakes, turnip cakes, sweet water chestnut cakes and these peppers/eggplants/tofu puffs(aka 煎釀三寶)stuffed with minced carp. They are so good! They’re usually served with soy sauce, chili bean sauce or black bean sauce.

Serves 2-3


150g firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 handful of oyster mushrooms or cremini

1 long pepper, trimmed with stem and seeds removed, sliced into 1cm rings

2 spoonful fermented black beans (dou si), roughly chopped

2 small cloves garlic, minced

1-2 thick slices fresh ginger

1/2 long red chili (seeded if desired), thinly sliced

2-3 tbsp Shaoxing wine

Vegetable oil for cooking


1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce (or use vegan oyster sauce)

A few shakes of ground white pepper


1 tbsp corn starch

1/4 cup water

Recipe Preparation

Prepare seasoning and slurry in two separate small bowls. Set aside by stove.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in large frying pan or wok on medium-high heat, then sear tofu cubes and season with salt, frying until all sides are golden. Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of oil into pan/wok if tofu sticks. Set aside. In same pan/wok, add 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté ginger, fermented black beans, sliced red chili and garlic on high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add Shaoxing wine. Ingredients should sizzle and cook until wine evaporates by half. Reduce heat to medium-high, add mushrooms, and cook for 2-3 minutes until mushrooms shrink to 1/3 of their original size. Add long pepper rings and cook for 1-2 minutes until just soft. Keep stirring frequently. Add seasoning and toss to coat all ingredients.

Add tofu and toss everything together gently around pan/wok, avoiding breaking tofu pieces. Finally, turn heat up to high, add slurry, and quickly toss sauce and ingredients together. Remove from heat as soon as sauce is thickened, about 30 seconds. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve warm with steamed rice.

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