Chinese recipes
Steamed Bean Curd With Chinese Mushrooms
5 large dried Chinese black or shiitake mushrooms -- (1 1/2 oz)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon black soy sauce -- plus
1/2 teaspoon black soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 pound soft bean curd
2 tablespoons thinly-sliced scallions
10 coriander (cilantro) leaves

In a heatproof bowl, soak the mushrooms in the boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse the mushrooms. Cut off and discard the stems.

In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the mushrooms, cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and cut them into 1/4-inch dice.

In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan often, until the white sesame seeds turn a light tan, about 1 minute. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the black soy sauce and honey. In another bowl, mash the bean curd with a fork. Add the cornstarch mixture and diced mushrooms and mix well. Transfer the bean curd to a 4-cup soufflé dish or other deep baking dish and smooth the top.

Set the dish in a steamer and cover with a plate. Steam the bean curd until it has set, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the bean curd with the sesame seeds, scallions and coriander leaves and serve hot.

This recipe yields 4 servings.

Comments: Bean curd is a cooling food, as are all forms soy. The mushrooms are cool as well, and steaming is considered to be a cooling process. The scallions, coriander and sesame seeds are warming, yet because they are garnishes, they do not alter this dish's essential yin nature. Note that the addition of honey makes this dish slightly sweet.


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