This tofu in oyster sauce is not vegan, is it? No, because of the oyster sauce. But this can be transformed into a vegan dish by simply substituting vegetarian oyster sauce which is made from oyster mushrooms.
Firm or semi-firm tofu is best for this dish so that you can pan fry it easily. Silken tofu may be used too although it is a bit more difficult to handle during the frying stage.
Whichever variety of tofu you use, make sure to remove excess moisture by pressing the cake between stacks of paper towels. This is crucial to make sure that the tofu will form a light crisp crust.
With the tofu sufficiently pressed, cut them into slices then deep fry in batches. To remove excess oil, either rest the fried tofu on a stack of paper towels or arrange them on a rack.
It’s now time to make the sauce. Although the title simply says “oyster sauce”, there’s actually more to the sauce than one ingredient. Broth, soy sauce, sugar and pepper are mixed with oyster sauce.
Now, we spice up the sauce by sauteeing garlic and ginger until aromatic before pouring in the oyster sauce mixture.
Then, we thicken the sauce with a little starch dispersed in water. When the sauce has thickened and cleared, the fried tofu are added and left to braise in the sauce for a couple of minutes.
Tofu in Oyster Sauce
- 1 cup cooking oil
- 300 grams firm or semi-firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce - (for vegans, there are vegetarian oyster sauces)
- 2 tablespoons Chinese soy sauce
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ground pepper - to taste
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
- ½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- sliced scallions
Cook the tofu
- Start heating the cooking oil in a wok.
- Line a plate or bowl with a stack of paper towels, drop in the tofu then cover with another stack of paper towels.
- Press down lightly but firmly to remove as much surface moisture as you can.
- Cut the tofu into two-inch squares about half an inch thick.
- Slide the tofu slices into the hot oil and cook over high heat, flipping halfway through, to brown both sides.
- Scoop out the tofu and rest on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.
Mix the sauce
- In a bowl, pour in the oyster sauce, soy sauce and broth.
- Add the sugar and pepper, and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in two tablespoons of water.
Cook the dish
- Pour off the oil in which the tofu was fried leaving only about two tablespoons in the wok.
- Saute the garlic and ginger until aromatic, about a minute.
- Pour in the sauce and allow to boil for a minute.
- Stir the starch solution and pour into the boiling sauce. Stir until the sauce has thickened and is no longer cloudy.
- Add the fried tofu to the sauce in a single layer.
- Boil for half a minute then flip them over and boil for another half a minute.
- Arrange the tofu on a plate, spoon the sauce over them then drizzle in the sesame seed oil.
- Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.