Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Vegetarian Braised "Meat" Mushroom-Tofu Sauce/Rou-Zhao 素肉燥

If you do not know, I am a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory series. I never watched any American drama while growing up. Not a single one. However, we chanced upon The Big Bang Theory some years ago in the US when the local channel kept showing repeats, and then we were kinda (unknowingly) addicted and knowingly, we watched all eight seasons, repeat telecasts and repeat telecasts.

This is going to sound even more exaggerating.

No matter how many times we have watched, we just went back to ...MORE..REPEATS. Well, of course, not every single episode is hilarious; but in general, most are. Some airlines even have an entire collection of one season - all (about 12) episodes in their on-board entertainment system, and again, we watched the repeats on the plane, not even interested in any of the new-release movie.

The Mr. and myself do not know why we could relate so well with The Big Bang Theory, but we logically attributed the cause to: both of us having engineering/technical background, so maybe we are able to relate to the jokes of geeks and nerds. Or perhaps both are us are THE geeks or nerds?! I don't know.

If you also follow this TV series (Season 8 is done, awaiting Season 9), you should know that Sheldon has a theme for every day/night e.g. Saturday night is laundry night, Thursday night is pizza night and occasionally, when there is no theme, they call it Anything-Can-Happen night, which brings the point to this post.


Today is Anything-Can-Happen night, in other words, no specific cuisine/ theme. We have Chinese/Taiwanese Vegetarian "Meat-Sauce", Rou-Zhao (素肉燥) Rice, with Korean Spicy Tofu (pan-fry/bake version, and no-need to pan-fry version - Korean Chilled Tofu, both available) and Celery-Cashew Salad.

Recipes for this vegetarian meal:
Chinese/Taiwanese Vegetarian "Meat-Sauce", Rou-Zhao (素肉燥)
Korean Spicy Tofu
Celery-Cashew Salad

If you prefer the meat-version of Stewed Meat, check Healthy Meat-Sauce (Rou-Zhao 肉燥)/ZhaJiang Meat-Sauce "炸酱". You can also check Healthy Zhajiang Noodles here.

Vegetarian Stewed Meat 素肉燥
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 block firm tofu 14-19oz, roughly mash using fingers (it should resemble "ground meat" after a while)
10-12 medium cap fresh shitake, finely diced
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tspdark soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
Ground white pepper
1-2 cups vegetable stock (of kombu). I have used wakame instead as I was using it for soup, so the water used to hydrate/soak the dried wakame was used as the stock

Directions: Fry shallots till slightly translucent and aromatic, then add mushrooms, garlic, half the sauces (1/2 tbsp light+ 1tsp dark) and fry till mushrooms are tender. Add the finely mashed tofu, add the remaining sauces and sugar, and mix well with mushrooms. Add stock till mixture is partially submerged, simmer for 10-15 minutes till flavors completely combined. Ground white pepper and a little sea salt to taste.

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