Wheat gluten braised with mushrooms, fungus and lily buds

Wheat gluten braised with mushrooms, fungus and lily buds

By
From
The Real Food of China
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Leanne Kitchen

This dish is a classic from Shanghai where it’s called sixi kaofu or ‘four happiness gluten’. Wheat gluten may not sound like the sexiest ingredient but it’s highly prized in China, especially in the Buddhist vegetarian kitchen. It has an intriguingly spongy texture and earthy flavour and this dish is a brilliant introduction to its charms.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
300g frozen wheat gluten, thawed
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
10-12 dried wood ear fungus
20g dried lily buds
500ml vegetable oil
1 star anise
80ml dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
80g raw, skinned peanuts

Method

  1. Cut the wheat gluten into 1 cm pieces, then place between layers of paper towel and press firmly to remove the excess liquid. Set aside.
  2. Put the shiitake mushrooms, wood ear fungus and lily buds in separate heatproof bowls, cover each with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain the shiitake mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, trim the stalks and cut each mushroom into four pieces. Drain the wood ears and the lily buds, discarding the liquid. Remove any hard bits from the wood ears and tear into large pieces. Cut any hard tips off the lily buds and discard.
  3. Pour the oil into a large wok and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns deep golden in 15 seconds. Add half the wheat gluten and fry for 5–6 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl lined with paper towel to drain the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining wheat gluten.
  4. Pour the reserved mushroom liquid into a measuring jug, taking care not to include any grit that has sunk to the bottom, then add enough water to make up to 500 ml. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and add the shiitake, wood ears, lily buds and wheat gluten, then add the star anise, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and peanuts. Stir to combine, then bring the mixture to a simmer, cover and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Serve hot or warm.
Tags:
China
Chinese
Asia
Asian
Real Food of China
Leanne
Kitchen
Antony
Suvalko
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