Post 108: Yom Ha Atzmaut: Photos from Mirkas Ha’Ir Jerusalem, Mapo Tofu Goes Vegetarian.

Mapo Tofu Goes Vegetarian.


  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups water
  • 15 ounce block of soft tofu (do not use silken), or marinated tempeh
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 small dried hot red peppers or less as you choose
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed or use adzuki beans
  • 1 tablespoon fermented spicy broadbean paste (doubanjiang)or to keep it mild white miso
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground Sichuan pepper
  • 1 tablespoon corn- or potato starch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water
  • ½ cup slivered scallions, both white and green parts
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


  1. Remove stems from mushrooms. Make a light mushroom broth by simmering stems in 2 cups water for 15 minutes, then strain and reserve broth (discard stems). Dice mushroom caps and set aside.
  2. Cut tofu/tempeh into 1-inch cubes. Cover with boiling salted water, let steep for 15 minutes, then drain.
  3. Put oil in a wok or wide skillet over medium heat. Add red peppers, black beans and bean paste and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add garlic and ginger and let sizzle, then add mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil and Sichuan pepper. Add 1 1/2 cups mushroom broth and cook mixture gently for 2 minutes.
  4. Carefully add tofu cubes. Shake pan to distribute sauce, using a wooden spoon to help. Try to avoid smashing tofu. Drizzle in cornstarch mixture, gently swirling pan to incorporate (sauce will thicken) and simmer tofu in sauce for 2 minutes more. Thin with a little mushroom broth if necessary. Transfer to a low bowl or platter. Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro sprigs.        


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