Japanese tofu is delicious especially when it is served sizzling on a hot plate along with an extremely delicious saucy meat gravy. That's not all. The surprise is right at the bottom of the hot plate - the mildly crusty omelette. I have always enjoyed digging all the way right to the bottom of the dish just to scoop the omelette together with the tofu and gravy. Eaten with white rice, this dish is truly amazing.
It is one of those dishes that could be easily whipped up during the weekdays. A little bit of minced meat goes a long way. This dish is usually what I go for as I always have some minced meat stacked in my freezer. However, what if there's no Japanese tofu available? Can it be turned into a vegetarian version? As usual, I'd love to answer all these questions below.
Egg tofu or sometimes called Japanese tofu are silky and has a pleasant eggy flavour. When fried, they create a thin crispy layer similar to the sides of a fried egg. That's why it's different when compared to other types of tofu. If you aren't able to buy them at the Asian grocer or supermarkets (in Asia), tofu of medium firmness will be a good substitute. However, silken tofu will be too soft and is not suitable for this recipe.
Cast iron hot plates is the way to go when cooking this recipe. Due to its ability to contain heat very well, cast iron plates maintain the high temperature even up to serving. This creates the sizzling effect that many love. If you do not have the cast iron hot plate, a non-stick pan will do the trick. The sizzling effect will however be missing.
To make this a vegan dish, substitute minced meat with minced firm tofu as how I've suggested in the pad kra pao recipe. Another option would be minced mushrooms. They would work just fine. As for oyster sauce, replace it with mushroom sauce. You'll not be able to substitute the egg. So, simply omit it from the recipe.
There you go, a fabulous dish that is simply delicious for you and your family.
Sizzling Japanese Tofu is also known as: 铁板豆腐Tit ban tauhu
Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes or until soft. Then, cut them into thin slices. Mince garlic and slice shallots. Cut scallions into length of ca. 4cm. Separate the leafy parts of the scallion from the root portion. In a bowl, mix corn flour with water. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix minced meat with soy sauce, white pepper, salt and 'Shaoxing' wine. Leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
Use a knife to cut right through the package of tofu. Press the end of the package to allow the tofu to slide out. Then, cut them into slices of ca. 1.5cm thick.
Heat pan over medium temperature. Once the pan is hot, add enough oil to fry the tofu. When tofu slices are browned, turn them over to fry the other side. Leave aside. Note: Using a non-stick pan would be helpful to prevent the tofu from sticking to the pan.
Keep one tablespoon of oil used to fry tofu. Discard the rest. Add garlic, shallots and mushrooms to the pan. Sauté over medium heat until fragrant. Then, add minced meat. Continue sautéing for another minute.
Add scallions (root portion), water, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and oyster sauce to the pan. Increase heat to maximum and bring gravy to boil. Once it begins boiling, add the rest of the scallions and pour in corn starch mixture. Stir until gravy thickens. Set aside.
Place the hot plate over medium to high heat. Pour a beaten egg onto the hot plate and immediately add the fried tofu slices. Pour the prepared gravy onto the hot plate. Optionally, garnish with scallions.
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