A Hoisin Feast for a Chilly Night

I love hoisin sauce, and this dish is an homage to hoisin.  This soupy bowl of goodness is so satisfying, and its a great thing to make when you are feeling slightly under the weather—like me tonight—when the prospect of pho, my go-to in times of illness, might not be within reach.  Its also perfect on a slightly chilly night, or a day, like today, when the skies drizzled feebly and nonstop.

I had the good fortune of taking a trip to the Asian grocery store (Li Ming) this past weekend and was able to pick up some of my favorite ingredients, including black dried mushrooms and pressed tofu.

dried mushrooms
I love that the brand of mushrooms is “gorgeous memory”


I know it doesn’t look like much now, but mushrooms and tofu are not the most attractive raw ingredients…

soaking mushrooms
Mushrooms in their soaking liquid



(Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

Prep and cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2 (with leftovers)


2 dozen dried Chinese black mushrooms

1 block firm tofu, drained and pressed to remove any excess water or 1 block pressed tofu

3 tbsp. sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 oz., white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced


Mushroom-soaking water

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

4 heaping tbsp. hoisin sauce

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 small tomato, chopped

3 scallions, chopped at a diagonal

  1. Put water on to boil. Once its boiled, pour it over the dried mushrooms, cover and soak for about twenty minutes.
  2. In the meantime, drain the water from the tofu and press with paper towels to remove any excess water. Cut the tofu into cubes and fry in 1 tbsp. sesame oil in a sauté pan. You want to sear both sides of the tofu, so that the texture is firm with a crunchy crust. (You can skip this step if you have pressed tofu).
  3. Heat a wok or deep pan, add 1 tbsp. sesame oil and swirl it around the sides. When it’s hot, add the garlic and stir fry for about thirty seconds, until fragrant. Add the white and dried mushrooms (save the water) and ½ tsp. of salt and stir fry for two minutes, until the mushrooms soften.
  4. Add the mushroom water and bring to a simmer. Once it’s simmering, add the vinegar, hoisin sauce, sesame oil (1 tbsp.), and soy sauce. Add the tofu cubes, stir everything together, and let simmer for five minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomato, simmer for another minute, and turn off the heat.
  6. Garnish with scallions and serve with brown or white rice, or on its own.

6 thoughts on “A Hoisin Feast for a Chilly Night”

  1. Yum! I don’t really know how to use hoisin sauce and this looks like a great recipe to start with. With fall (or I should say autumn) approaching fast, I’ll be trying this soon :). Thanks!

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