I hated tofu or "tokwa" during my younger years. Probably most kids of my generations, and even other generations before and after ours, shared the same feeling. But that changed when I grew up and learned to explore with food, outside the boundaries of usual family dishes. I developed an appreciation of its health benefits and eventually its unique taste that it only acquires from various flavoring ingredients that it is cooked with. It is basically tasteless on its own and requires good batter or sauce or broth to be truly enjoyed and admired as a main food.
Although I have already posted two tofu recipes here before such as the simple fried tofu or “pritong tokwa” and the much elaborate sizzling tofu in oyster sauce, I am still in constant search for new ways to get pleasure from the rather bland but healthy and energy-packed food from China. Interestingly, other nations have also noticed and showed acceptance of the food item as an exciting addition to their cuisines. It is either for health reasons or due to its wide usage and applications to vegan principle (not using or consuming animal products) and vegetarian (plant-based) diets.
An alternative way of preparing the food is in combination with the tasty abalone or oyster mushrooms cook in mayonnaise and soy sauce. While the resulting dish will resemble the one with oyster sauce, its taste will be distinctly sourly and salty as oppose to sweet and salty of the sizzling tofu. Appreciation to this dish will then be a matter of taste preference. While I am biased over the one using oyster sauce for I really love that dish, this remains a stimulating option, especially for the daring and adventurous in taste.
One of the main flavorful ingredients involved here is the mayonnaise, a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice. As we all know, mayonnaise is commonly served in most sandwiches such as hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, tuna, etc. or with salads such as potato and macaroni salads or canned tuna salad. It is also used as an accompaniment to French fries or potato chips, fried meat and grilled fish and even cooked vegetables. In addition, mayonnaise is also the base for many other chilled sauces and salad dressings.
To cook the dish, we need the following: 2 blocks tofu, to be cubed, a handful of abalone or oyster mushrooms, to be roughly chopped, 1 large onion, chopped, ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup soy sauce, 3 tbsp vegetable oil, ½ tsp red chili flakes, 1½ tbsp “calamansi” or lemon extract and 2 tbsp brown sugar (not shown).
In a medium sauce pan of small casserole, heat some water until briskly boiling. Blanch the tofu cube in the boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a medium wok or pan, heat the oil on medium flame. Lightly fry the tofu pieces. Stir carefully and continue frying until slightly browned on all sides. Add in onions followed by mushroom. Continue frying until the veggies are cooked through.
Add in red chili flakes followed by soy sauce, mayonnaise, “calamansi” extract and finally sugar. Continue cooking until the rich sauce is smooth and has an even consistency.
Transfer in medium plates and serve warm. There it is, tofu and mushroom delight ………… your alternative tofu dish. This is uniquely good but as I mentioned above, I prefer the one cooked in oyster sauce over this dish. That one is simply perfect for my palates. :-)
If you have cooked my version of the sizzling tofu, try this dish and decide for yourself which one has the edge. Enjoy! c“,)