• For the tofu puffs
    • 1 dried shiitake mushroom
    • 9 oz. plain white tofu
    • 2 tbsps very finely chopped carrot
    • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    • 1 large egg white
    • 3 tbsps potato starch
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ground white pepper
    • 1-½ cups cooking oil
    • 2 tbsps cooking oil
  • For the sauce
    • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
    • 1 spring onion
    • few slices peeled ginger
    • few slices carrot, for color
    • 1 cup vegetarian stock, or mushroom soaking water
    • 1 tbsp shaosing wine
    • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
    • tsp dark soy sauce
    • 1 tsp potato starch
    • 1 tbsp water
    • 1 tsp sesame oil


1. Soak all the mushrooms in 1 cup plus 2 tbsp hot water for at least 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the water. Discard the stalks. Finely chop one mushroom and thinly slice the other two. Blitz the tofu to a paste in a food processor. Mix in the chopped mushroom, carrot, cilantro, egg white, potato starch, salt, and some pepper. Slice the spring onion white on the diagonal and cut the green into 1-3/4” lengths. Mix the potato starch and the water.
2. Rub a couple of dessert spoons with oil. In a wok, heat the oil to 375˚F (190˚C). Scoop up the spoonfuls of tofu mixture and slide them gently into the oil. (Slide each into a different area of the wok, so they don’t stick.) Do not fry more than five spoonfuls at a time. Leave for a couple of minutes until golden, then flip over for another minute or two. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and rain on paper towels. Continue until you have fried all the mixture, skimming the oil between batches. Pour off the oil and wipe out the wok. Return it to a high heat with 2 tbsp fresh oil. Add the ginger, spring onion whites, carrot, sliced mushrooms and chili and stir-fry until they smell wonderful. Pour in the stock or mushroom water, bring to a boil and add the Shaoxing wine, soy sauces and salt and pepper to taste. Add the puffs and simmer for a minute or two. Give the potato mixture a stir and add, stirring as the liquid thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. Throw in the spring onion greens, stir, then, off the heat, mix in the sesame oil and serve.


Variation - Tofu puffs with salt and Sichuan pepper: Instead of the sauce, serve the puffs immediately after frying with a little dipping dish of three parts salt to one part ground roasted Sichuan pepper, a classic “salt-and-pepper” dip for deep fried foods.






Fuchsia Dunlop


2 servings




Asian : East Asian : Szechuan