Steamed Tofu with Bok Choy and Sesame

Steamed tofu is the antithesis of the punchy, in-your-face flavours of my usual Indian cuisine. Almost bland, it is gloriously so, adding creamy texture to its accompaniments. In this case we use bok choi (pak choi) and a soy sauce-seasame-mirin dressing. You do have to be willing to enjoy the subtlety of flavours to appreciate this dish. It is not something that would do well on Master Chef, for example, however we love steamed tofu.

We also have a variation to this dish where shiitake and oyster mushrooms are quickly sauteed and added to the tofu. This is inspired by an incredible dish of steamed tofu and mushrooms at the Whole Earth restaurant in Chiang Mai –  Three Flavour Tofu Topped with Shiitake Mushrooms.

Similar recipes include Crispy Green Beans with Ginger and Soy, Curry Laksa with Fried Tofu, Kaffir and Tamarind Tofu, and Tofu and Spinach Layers.

Browse all of our Tofu dishes and all of our Bok Choi recipes. Or be inspired by our other Late Winter dishes.

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Black Barley with Mushrooms and Roti-Style Yoghurt Flatbreads

Black barley is a terrific find, it is nutty and dark in flavour and cooks easily in 35 – 45 minutes. I came across it at Goodies and Grains in Adelaide Central Market while I was stocking up with a few items. It is an African barley just becoming available more locally. It is excellent in soups, salads, vegetarian “stews” (let’s call it a ragout) like this one and even with tostadas and such like. As a base for other ingredients, it is excellent – try Black Barley with this Charred Okra dish.

Today we are using it to replace pearl barley (you can do that in any recipe). Ottolenghi has a recipe for Barley and Mushrooms in his book Plenty. We first made this around 2011, when my daughter and her family came back from London. There was much celebration. Barley and mushroom is a soothing combination – it is well known in Italy where a type of risotto, orzotto, is made from barley and mushrooms. The delight of the dish is mainly a textural thing, with the barley both gently breaking and enhancing the mushroomy gloopiness. This recipe uses 3 types of mushrooms, and today we used porcini, shiitake and pearl mushrooms, as I had pearl mushrooms left over from making a Soba Noodle and Mushroom dish.

Ottolenghi’s recipe also has some roti-like flatbreads made from wholewheat flour and mixed with yoghurt. These are rolled out and cooked on a tawa, flat griddle or frying pan. They are super easy to make and go with any dish similar to this one. You can also use any Mexican or Middle Eastern flatbread to compliment the barley if you are out of time to make your own. Or some frozen roti from your Indian Grocery.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

It is a very wintery dish – perfect for brisk Autumn days through to Winter.

Similar recipes include Mushrooms with Black Glutinous Rice, Charred Okra with Barley, Barley and Porcini Risotto, and Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms.

Browse our Black Barley recipes, all of our Barley dishes and our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through his Plenty More book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
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Steamed Mustard Greens and Shiitake Mushrooms with Sambal Matah

Today we have a lovely dish of mustard greens with a taste of Bali. A quick sambal is made with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf, which is then mixed with steamed mustard greens. The dish is topped with something crispy – I often use garlic chips or crispy fried tofu, but fried shallots or even potato chips or sweet potato chips can be used.

Note that Kai Choy or Gai Choy is the Cantonese name for Mustard Greens. It is also known as Indian Mustard, Leaf Mustard and Mustard Leaves.

Similar dishes include Balinese Sambal Dabo Lilang, Sarson ka Saag, Sri Lankan Mustard Greens with Coconut, Mustard Greens with Mooli (Daikon), and Turnips with Mustard Greens.

Browse all of our Mustard Greens recipes, and all of our Balinese dishes. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Adzuki Beans with Red or Brown Rice and Shiitake Mushrooms

The goodness of Adzuki Beans teams perfectly with the comfort of Mashed Potatoes and creaminess of Mushroom Sauce

This is a wonderful, yet simple, Adzuki Bean dish flavoured with kombu and Shiitake Mushrooms and textured with red or brown rice. My preferred way of serving this dish is with mushroom sauce and some perfect mashed potatoes.

Somewhere between a kitchari and a congee, the rice and adzuki beans are slow cooked for nearly 2 hours. This is a perfect quiet Sunday Afternoon sort of dish. Slow cooking also helps to preserve the taste and health properties of the kombu which should always be simmered and not boiled. It is a recipe that has been a scribbled note sitting in my pile of recipes collected over more than 30 years!

Are you looking for recipes with Adzuki Beans? Then try Red Rice and Adzuki Bean Congee, Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup with Miso and Parsley, and Adzuki Bean Soup with Parsley.

Try other Rice recipes as well – Congee Bowls, Bean Sprouts Rice, Eggplant Rice, or a Parsi Kitchari.

Thee is more! Explore all of our Adzuki dishes, and all Rice dishes here. Or take some time and browse our easy Late Winter recipes.

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The Perfect Shiitake Mushroom Sauce

Shiitake Mushrooms in a creamy sauce

Who does not like a mushroom sauce? Over toast, with mashed potato, poured over steamed vegetables, it is a winner in any language.

This sauce is made with shiitake mushrooms cooked in a creamy sauce with tamari. The sauce is thickened with kudzu, a Japanese starch used to thicken sauces. It is available in supermarkets, Asian grocers and health shops. It makes the most beautiful, smooth and glossy sauce. But if you can’t find kudzu, use cornflour.

Like so many of my recipes, this one comes from a note scribbled in an unknown hand, passed to me sometime in the past decades.

Looking for Mushroom recipes? Try Steamed Mustard Greens with Shiitake and Sambal, Mushrooms in Terracotta, Achari Mushrooms, Mushroom and Carrot Salad with Mung Sprouts and Ginger Vinaigrette, a Mushroom Curry, and Mushrooms for Toast.

You will find other Mushroom recipes here. Or explore our easy Late Winter dishes.

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