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After reading a column created by a colleague about her efforts to cull her possessions, I opened my store cupboard and bags of stuff promptly fell out.

Although My business is efficient at editing my other belongings (Marie Kondo, I don’t care when it sparks joy. Whether it must go, 1 of three go), the discipline and ruthlessness disappear in terms of food.

How else to elucidate why I have got much salt I never should opt for the stuff for many years? Having said that i always buy more – tempted by grey salt from France, Himalayan pink salt, black salt from Hawaii along with shiny, salty crystals.

Condiments – don’t even get me started. Concerning an array of soya sauces, hot sauces (yes, a chilli coward at all like me has hot sauces) and lots of stuff that caught my fancy but we promptly forgot about once I bought them.

In a quote to tame the mess, I took a very good, hard look at whatever i had and was delighted to find some dried elements that will make an easy stew.

It helps i\’m currently nuts about everything soy and get been craving tau kee.

My dish of braised beancurd stick and mushrooms is comfort food over a rainy day. It is great with rice or porridge although it simmers around the stove, your kitchen smells wonderful and warm, with the scent of cinnamon, cloves and star anise rising.

This is usually a vegetarian dish that has the satisfying bite of an meat dish. Yes, you possibly can braise pork belly while in the sauce but the meaty texture of your mushrooms makes me forget that there are no meat.

The dish takes a very long time to become ready but apart from letting the dried ingredients rehydrate and stirring the pot once in a while, a majority of that period is often spent on a couch and reading.

If you have a adequate enough crock pot, dump the components in after stir-frying simply allow them to cook on low for 8 hours or more.

This may be the style of slow food I enjoy.

The time you lavish in it means the tau kee or beancurd stick becomes soft and silky.

Those mushrooms take up the aromatic braising sauce and turn juicy and luscious.

You can, to be able to, slice any leftover mushrooms and toss all of them with instant noodles in addition to some of the braising sauce additionally, the hot sauces crammed in your store cupboard.

I created version with tau kwa or firm beancurd but asked myself easily want to obtain or more tau kee. More tau kee was the perfect solution.

If you prefer tau kwa, use 200g of tau kee instead along with a final Quarter of an hour of cooking, add two waste tau kwa, chopped up, into the stew.

Other add-ons include sliced tau pok and hard-boiled eggs, which could go ahead over the past Fifteen minutes too.

While I did before soak dried shiitake during the refrigerator, Now i get it done overnight in 70 degrees. I find they end up softer plus much more tender.

Good tau kee is crucial to the dish since it has to last while in the long cooking. I\’ve had results while using the Sun Kee and Max’s brands.

Many recipes call for a 20-minute soaking time but 45 minutes to a hour works better for me personally.

The stew is great your day it\’s made, especially with a handful of my mother’s tangy chilli and lime dip. However, the leftovers mellow out overnight and the dish has greater depth of flavour. Nevertheless, make an effort to finish it within 48 hrs.

Then root throughout the store cupboard for more ingredients to use up.

(Also read: 4 Home Workouts to accomplish On Rainy Days)



  • 12 large dried shiitake mushrooms, 130g to 150g
  • 1.5 litres tap water
  • 300g tau kee (dried beancurd stick)
  • 25g black wood ear fungus
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs cooking oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 Tbs light soya sauce
  • 3 Tbs dark soya sauce
  • 2 Tbs Shaoxing wine (optional)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped scallions or coriander leaves (optional)


1. The night before cooking, rinse the dried mushrooms under running water and inside of a large bowl. Pour plain faucet water them over and a plate on the mushrooms to make sure they\’re submerged. Let soak eight to 10 hours at room temperature.

2. Around an hour before cooking, soak the tau kee in trouble for 45 minutes. Rinse the fungus well and soak for about 45 minutes in regular faucet water, changing the river twice to eradicate the grit. This is a lot easier should the fungus was in a colander mounted in a bowl.

3. Drain the tau kee and gently squeeze the strips to get rid of a number of the water. Cut lengthwise into 8 to 10cm pieces. Drain the fungus and making use of a sharp couple of kitchen shears, reduce bite-sized pieces, discarding any hard, woody parts.

4. Gently squeeze the liquid right out of the mushrooms into the bowl. Slice heli-copter flight stems and discard. Reserve 1 litre from the mushroom soaking liquid, making certain you allow the grit behind.

5. Finely chop the garlic.

6. Heat the oil over medium high temperature from a large and deep pot. Add some mushrooms and stirfry A few seconds. Add some cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise and stir-fry another A short period. Add some chopped garlic and stirfry A short period. Add some fungus and stirfry Half a minute. Conduct the that is the tau kee.

7. Pour while in the mushroom-soaking liquid. Add the light and dark soya sauces, the wine (if using) and the sugar. Bring the pot towards a boil and turn the heat because of medium low. Allow it simmer for 90 minutes partially covered, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

8. If the cooking time expires, possess a taste and add salt if required. Spoon in a serving bowl and top together with the scallions or coriander if using.

Serves 6 or 8 within dinner with rice along with dishes.

A sort of this short article appeared from the print edition from the Sunday Times on November 12, 2017, with the headline ‘Stepping into a stew’.

(Also read: Recipe: Makes this Nutritious ABC Soup)

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