My Mum eats very little meat. She eats more vegetables and always introduces new vegetable dishes to us. This is a recent one and, as such, not neccessairy part of the rich tradition of cooking knowledge I want to tap into and document here. Still, this preparation was very good and I decided to include it right away. The "five spiced" tau foo may not appeal to everyone's palette. I think for many Westerners, it may be an aquired taste. I like the contrast of the smooth tau foo with the crunchiness of the vegetables in this dish, especially the black fungus. From my research on black fungus, it is honored as "Meat in vegetables" because of its nutrients such as iron, protein, fat, vitamis, polysaccharide and other minerals. Eating black fungus often gives you a similar result as taking an aspirin a day to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Even modern Western medical science has proven that black fungus is very effective in moderating blood viscosity, thereby lowering blood pressure. Mushrooms and tree fungus hold a special pace in Chinese cuisine, especially among the Buddhist vegetarians. It's power pack of iron and protein makes it a naturla as a regular part of their diet. But it's flavors and subtle contrasts will call to anyone true lover of food.
Stir fry 5 spices dried tau foo with celery,
potato and black fungus
1 cup dried 5 spice tau foo (this is avalable in most Chinese groceries)
1 stalk celery
2 floret of black fungus (washed and soaked until the floret opens up)
1 tb vegetable oil
2 tb of water
Salt to taste
Method:Julienne all the vegetable. Heat oil on wok and add potato, stir fry till for 2 mins then add tau foo and black fungus and fry for another 2 mins. Add celery and water and stir fry
Another 2 to 3 mins. Add salt to taste before serving.
We think we know how to julienne vegetables but are we doing it right? Here is instruction how to julienne vegetables the right way:
Make a length-wise cut. When using long vegetables such as carrots. potatoes or celery, the first cut you want to make is right down the middle length-wise. This will leave you with two long, slender pieces of a vegetable that will allow it to sit on the cutting board without rolling.
Slice the vegetable. Take each half of the vegetable and cut them into slender strips about 1/4 inch thick. They should look like matchsticks at this point.
Cut the pieces in half. After you have all the long strips of your vegetable, gather them together in a bunch and cut them in half to make shorter strips. For longer vegetables like zuchinni or cucumbers, you may have to cut them into thirds, but for vegetables such as carrots and potatoes, a slice in half will work fine. The end goal is a strip about 1/4 wide by 1 and 1/2 inches long.
The overall flavor of this dish, which I would call earthy and wholesome, is a wonderful accompaniment to rich and other dishes.