Braised tofu with vegetable 瓦煲豆腐 is an authentic home-cooked dish popular among the Chinese household. It is normally braised in a clay pot which adds an earthy aroma to the dish. If you do not have a clay pot, prepare it in a large pan or the wok.
Tofu is an excellent source of protein which makes it a balanced meal even without meat. It acts as a sponge and takes on any flavor added to it. The preparation of the clay pot tofu recipe is easy and can be done within thirty minutes.
This braised tofu recipe contains oyster sauce. Substitute the oyster sauce with mushroom extract (marketed as the vegetarian oyster sauce) if you intend to prepare a vegetarian dish.
Let’s take a look at how to prepare braised clay pot tofu with vegetables and mushrooms in detail.
How to prepare braised tofu with vegetables
1. Choose the tofu that is soft to slightly firm.
I used the Japanese egg tofu in this recipe. You may choose other types of tofu that you like. If you use tofu that looks soft, cut it into slices carefully, then coated them with cornstarch and pan-fried in a pan. The cornstarch will form a crust to protect the tofu from breaking.
It is unnecessary to coat with cornstarch if the tofu is firm enough to withstand light stirring and mixing.
Very soft tofu is not suitable for braised tofu recipes since it will break while cooking.
2. Choose the vegetables and mushrooms that you like
You can choose any mushroom that you like. However, Chinese dried mushrooms are nearly present in all other similar recipes.
You can use the fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of the dried shiitake mushrooms, but the dry one is more aromatic. Besides that, enoki, king oyster, button, and straw mushrooms are the ideal choices. Substitute with other mushrooms available locally will not affect the outcome of this dish.
Soak the dried shitake mushrooms until they are adequately hydrated. It may take an hour or much longer, depending on the size and thickness of the mushrooms.
You can also use Chinese broccoli (also called Chinese kale/gai-lan) to replace the regular broccoli. If you like broccoli, try the broccoli with chicken and Chinese broccoli dish on this blog.
Cloud fungus 云耳 is another ingredient regularly included in this recipe. It looks similar to wood fungus 木耳 but is smaller and thinner. Before you use it, soak it until it is hydrated and expanded fully, then cook it like other vegetables.
Pluck away both ends of the snow peas, and pull out the tough string that runs along its side. Add the snow peas only after braising to keep it crunchy.
The combination of the vegetables is endless. You can also add baby corns, celery, bamboo shoots, cabbage, and other vegetables that are in season. The various flavor from the mushrooms and vegetables will concentrate to become a braising liquid, making it astonishingly delicious and enjoyable.
3. The seasonings for the braising liquid
The flavor of the braised liquid mainly derives from the shiitake mushrooms and various vegetables. The main seasoning is oyster sauce. If you want to make a vegetarian dish, use the vegetarian version of the oyster sauce which is made with mushroom extract. It has a more or less similar flavor to the oyster sauce.
Use the water to hydrate the mushrooms to braise the vegetables. This water has extracted lots of flavor from the mushrooms. It is a waste if you throw it away.
-The amount of oyster and soy sauce can vary to suit your taste buds. However, always include both ingredients in the braised tofu recipe when you make changes. Other seasonings are salt, sugar, ground white pepper, and sesame oil.
The cooking process of clay pot tofu
Follow the steps below once you have washed and cut all the vegetables and soak the mushrooms.
- Cut the tofu into slices or pieces at least 1 cm thick. Smaller pieces tend to break easily.
- Pan-fried the tofu in a saucepan until it turns golden brown. Remove and set aside.
- Heat some oil in the pan to saute the garlic and sliced ginger. Once they turn aromatic, add all the shitake mushrooms and vegetables and stir fry briefly. The sequence of adding the vegetables is not critical. The only exception is not to braise the snow peas to preserve their crunchiness.
- Transfer the vegetables to a clay pot.
- Add the mushroom water and the seasonings to braise the vegetables for five minutes. I find that the vegetables will become too soft, turn mushy, and dull after braising beyond ten minutes.
- You can cover the pan/clay pot or leave it open if there is too much liquid after braising for five minutes.
- Add some cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce so that it will cling to the vegetables. The cornstarch slurry should consist of one part of cornstarch and two parts of water. Add the slurry and mix with the vegetables in batches and discard the remaining once you get the right consistency. The sauce will be too thick and gooey if you add too much cornstarch slurry.
The mushroom and tofu will act as a sponge, soaking up plenty of braising liquid that is full of flavor.
Related recipes for braised tofu
Here are some related recipes to braised tofu that you may want to try.
Tofu with minced pork is one home-cooked dish that is served in every Chinese household. It is deep-fried tofu topped with a minced meat sauce.
Soy sauce chicken is a famous Cantonese cuisine that is easy to prepare. It is braised with premium soy sauce and poaches at a sub-boiling temperature.
Try the kung pao tofu if you like sweet, sour, and spicy. There are many way ways to cook tofu!
Braised Tofu With Vegetables
Braised tofu with mushrooms in clay pot 瓦煲豆腐 is an authentic home cooked dish favorite among the Chinese household
- 150g egg tofu
- 3 slices ginger
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 4 dry shitake mushrooms, soaked until hydrated
- 2 baby corn, cut into 2-3 sections
- 1/4 stick carrot, cut into thin slices
- 4 button mushrooms, cut into thin slices
- 100g broccoli, cut into florets
- 6 snow peas, remove the tough strings
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons oyster sauce (vegetarian)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Cut the tofu into slices or pieces of at least 1 cm thick.
- Pan-fried the tofu until both sides turn golden brown. Remove and set aside,
- Saute the garlic and sliced ginger.
- Once they turn aromatic, add all the shiitake mushrooms and vegetables (except the snow peas) and stir fry briefly.
- Transfer the vegetables (except the snow peas) to a clay pot.
- Add the mushroom water and the seasonings to braise the vegetables for five minutes.
- Mix the cornstarch with some water to form a slurry. Add to the vegetables to thicken the liquid.
- Add the snow peas and cook for one minute.
- Add the tofu to the vegetables. Mix carefully so as not to break the tofu. Serve.
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Serving Size:2 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 496Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 279mgSodium: 1055mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 19gSugar: 25gProtein: 35g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 4/25/2019
Frequently asked questions:
Here are the answers to the frequently asked question from my readers:
1. What are other ingredients suitable to include in the list of ingredients for claypot tofu?
Baby corn, spring onion, bok choy, napa cabbage, and button mushrooms are some other ingredients suitable for this recipe.
2. What type of soy sauce are you referring to in the recipe?
I use light soy sauce, which is saltier than dark soy sauce. You can add some dark soy sauce if you prefer a darker color.
3. Should I use high heat for cooking the tofu?
You have the option to deep fry the tofu in oil at high heat until slightly brown before braising them. Then, use low heat to braise the tofu and other vegetables.
4. Can I use canned button mushroom for this recipe?
Sure. I use canned button mushroom in this recipe 🙂
Tuesday 13th of October 2020
How long do you cook the tofu for and what heat? I try to make the tofu but it keeps falling apart when I cook it. The fried part sticks the the bottom of the pan.
Tuesday 13th of October 2020
Hi Clare, I use an electric deep-fryer with a frying basket, so it will not stick to the bottom. Always use high heat and more oil to fry to prevent it from sticking if you are using a pan. You can filter the oil with a cloth bag or paper towel and use the oil for other dishes. KP Kwan
Thursday 30th of July 2020
Hi Adina, Please add the snow peas right at the end before adding the tofu. Snow peas cook in a minute. I have amended the recipe to make it clear. Thanks for pointing it out. KP Kwan
Saturday 4th of April 2020
Hello..You dont say when the fried tofu is being added back to the receipe. With the rest of the veges I supposed?
Monday 6th of April 2020
Hi SH, Thank you for highlighting the unclear step. I just update the instruction in the recipe. I will only return the tofu to the pot and mix with the vegetables after braising the vegetables for a few minutes, and after adding the cornstarch slurry. This way will prevent the tofu from breaking due to the excessive mixing. Cheers. KP Kwan
Saturday 11th of January 2020
Can I prepare ahead of time and then thicken once guests arrive? Where do I stop to avoid vegetables going mushy
Saturday 11th of January 2020
Hi Maddie, I suggest you follow the instruction up to the step right before braising. Keep aside. Stir fry the vegetable briefly will not make the vegetable mushy, but braising will. So braise only right before you want to serve, but with all the other steps completed, it may only take five to ten minutes before you serve. KP Kwan
Friday 26th of April 2019
Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment area, as you have read through my recipe. I am glad to reply to any questions and comments as soon as possible.