Tofu and Mushrooms in Oyster Sauce

Cook date: April 25, 2021

UPDATE: April 25, 2021 10:30 PM. I forgot to include links to the recipes for this dish.

So, I’m about a month behind writing about my cooking and reading. The easing pandemic restrictions coupled with our both being vaccinated resulted in us getting out more. We’ve enjoyed our new, limited, freedom so much, my writing has taken a back seat to engaging in life. Let’s see if I can get caught up.

This is the third time I’ve made this bean curd and mushrooms in oyster sauce; my earlier cooks (once in February 2016 and once in June 2020) were good. Since then I’ve learned more about cooking tofu and how to better stir fry. So when the kids came over for Sunday dinner I used a slightly different method.

Let’s get into it. The first step is to press the tofu between paper towels to dry the tofu, then cut it into ½-inch cubes – more or less, this isn’t science.

Cubed tofu

It is essential to prep your ingredients and have them ready – aka mis en plaçe – when stir frying because everything moves quickly once you are done prepping and cooking.

White and green parts of green onions ready for garnishing and cooking
Lightly crushed garlic and sliced ginger for the stir fry.

We are ready to start.

Ready to stir fry

In the past, I stir-fried the mushrooms, then added the tofu and sauce. The final dish is nice, but tofu has no texture and cooking it that way doesn’t help that problem. So, following general stir-fry methods I mixed things up. First I tossed the tofu in cornstarch – like I do when cooking in the oven.

Gently tossing tofu in cornstarch

Then, heat the wok; once it is hot, take the pan off heat pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil down the sides and GENTLY swirl. Be careful not to swirl so hard that some oil drips into the stove flames – that would be BAD.

Swirling oil in a hot wok with the flame turned off.

Then, stir-fry half the tofu. Even extra firm tofu will crumble if handled too roughly. Carla was cooking hot dogs for the little guys; like Diane and Mike T they aren’t tofu fans. Remember the cornstarch; I should have worn an apron.

Cooking hot dogs and stir frying tofu.

When the first batch is done, remove it to a wire rack inside a sheet pan that is lined with newspaper or paper towels. Wipe out the pan, reheat it, and add more oil. Here is the second batch of tofu after crisping in the wok.

Second batch of tofu in the wok.

This method – a first for me – did a great job of turning out tofu that was crispy on the outside but creamy inside. And it wasn’t too oily. Cooking over a high heat and draining on a wire rack really helped. You can use a nonstick skillet, but you can’t get it as hot as a wok.. With the tofu cooked, it’s time to start on the mushrooms.

Ready to complete the stir fry.

Stir fry the mushrooms with the garlic and ginger in a bit more oil.

Mushrooms for the stir fry.

My son had the camera and thought it would be a good idea to get a picture of me.

The cook at work

When the mushrooms are cooked, add the tofu back in along with the oyster sauce and soy sauce mixture. Stir to combine.

Finishing the tofu and mushrooms in oyster sauce stir fry.

It will all heat up in such a couple of minutes. Serve alongside some rice (Jasmine coconut here), and maybe a vegetable; we love daikon radish Kimchi even though the Korean dish doesn’t exactly match up with this Chinese stir fry.

Dinner is served

Dinner is served bean curd and mushrooms in oyster sauce.

Rating: ★★★★ 4 stars. My daughter-in-law, who has been eating my various attempts at cooking tofu over the past year reported that this tofu has the best flavor and texture of any of my other dishes – even more than the previous best which was deep fried tofu with broccoli. YES!

For an extra win, the wok has such deep sides and uses just a bit of oil, so the stovetop doesn’t get spattered with too much oil. Still don’t want to fry tofu? I’ll have an update on getting crisp and flavorful tofu from the oven in an upcoming post.

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