Tofu may be one of the most unfairly maligned foods in the world. But it’s such an economical and nutritional powerhouse! It’s packed with protein and calcium, it’s low carb (if that’s your thing), and it just needs a little love to really make it sing. This Black Bean Tofu is a favorite for meatless Monday or any day of the week. The sauce is complex, tangy, and rich. The steamed tofu has a wonderful texture, and the addition of mushrooms really elevates this simple classic.
Everyone has a childhood food memory they cherish. And I have one of being in my highchair and picking Chinese fermented beans from my scoop of rice. And for years, the taste and flavor of these beans haunted me because I didn’t know what they were or how to ask for them. The only problem is we’re Japanese and my mom swears she would not have had these in the house and could not have given them to me. Plus, if you ask anyone who knows me well, they’ll tell you that my memory is terrible…so this probably isn’t an actual memory. But I don’t care. I claimed this memory years ago and I’m sticking to it.
Lots of Ingredients But Quick Prep… Promise
Don’t be alarmed by the long ingredient list. With the exception of maybe the Shaoxing wine, the ingredients are things you likely already have on hand, and the dish comes together very quickly.
I start making Black Bean Tofu by getting the tofu and the mushrooms ready for steaming. If you’ve never had beech mushrooms before, they are worth seeking out, and not just because they look cool. When cooked they take on a very nutty, earthy flavor. If you can’t find them, enoki mushrooms would make a good substitute.
Begin by removing the bottom half inch of the mushrooms, and separating them into small clumps.
Black Bean Sauce
Black Bean Tofu is all about this divine sauce. It’s full of so much savory flavor, and as long as you prep all your ingredients before you start, it can be whipped up in the time it takes to steam the tofu in the microwave. Chinese Black Beans are actually fermented soy beans. They add an explosive salty punch to this sauce. If you would like to cut down on the sodium, give them a rinse under running water.
Then I add the liquid ingredients and the sugar.
To thicken the sauce and give it a nice velvety texture, I make a slurry with water and cornstarch. Just pour it in and stir for a couple minutes and the sauce will magically thicken.
Now all that’s left to do is to pour the sauce on top of the tofu, add your garnish, and dig in! Be careful when removing the plastic film from the tofu, steam burns are no fun.
Black Bean Tofu is so quick and satisfying, I have no doubt it’s going to become a regular in your plant based rotation too. Serve it with some other quick veggie dishes- like Funky Spicy Green Beans, Szechuan Cucumbers, and Braised Burdock for an exciting vegan feast, or just enjoy with Coconut Rice for a simple supper.
Let us know what you serve it with by leaving a comment below, and tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
For the Tofu:
- 1 package medium firm tofu (about 14 ounces)
- 1 box beech mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
For the Black Bean Sauce:
- 2 tablespoon neutral oil
- ¼ large onion, finely diced
- 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes or 2 fresh chiles minced
- 1 Tablespoon fermented black beans
- 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce*
- ½ Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
- Slice the tofu in half lengthwise and then into thin slices, about 1/2 inch thick (12 pieces). Arrange them overlapping slightly on a microwave safe plate that you will use to steam.
- Cut the bottom ½ inch off of the bottom of the mushrooms and discard. Then break the mushroom into small clumps and arrange on top of the tofu.
- Drizzle the shaoxing wine over the tofu.
- Cover the plate with plastic wrap and steam in the microwave for 4-5 minutes until the tofu is hot and the mushrooms are cooked through.
- While steaming the tofu, make the sauce. Add the oil to a small skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the ginger, garlic, and chile flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Then add fermented black beans and also sauté for a few seconds.
- Add oyster sauce, sugar, soy sauce, and water to the saucepan. Stir the sauce and bring it to a simmer.
- Stir the cornstarch slurry making sure it’s completely smooth. Gradually pour it into the saucepan while stirring to thicken the black bean sauce.
- Once the tofu is hot, remove the plastic wrap and drain the liquid in the plate. Pour the black bean sauce over the tofu slices.
- Sprinkle with the scallion and serve immediately
*To make this vegan, look for mushroom vegan oyster sauce.
Keywords: plant based, healthy eating, tofu, chinese, black bean sauce