“Red-cooking” is a traditional Chinese braising technique, using soy sauce, that turns the food a gorgeous reddish brown color. A quick version of the technique is used here to transform mushrooms and tofu into a rich, earthy, saucy dish. Serve over steamed brown rice or as a soup. To make this stir-fry vegetarian, see Vegetarian Variation below.

Nina Simonds
Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 1992


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Fold a clean kitchen towel and place it on a cutting board or large plate. Set tofu on the towel. Put another folded clean towel over the tofu and place a flat, heavy weight (such as a skillet) on top; drain for 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, place dried shiitakes (or black mushrooms) in a measuring cup, cover with hot water and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Discard the mushroom stems and cut the caps in half. Set aside.

  • Stir the reserved mushroom-soaking liquid, broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine (or sherry) and sugar in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved.

  • Cut the pressed tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the reserved mushrooms, leek and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds. Add the broth mixture and bring to a boil. Add the tofu, white mushrooms and fresh shiitakes and return to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Stir cornstarch and water mixture. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.


Notes: Shao Hsing (or Shaoxing) is a seasoned rice wine available in most Asian specialty markets and the Asian sections of some larger supermarkets.

Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. Don't use the “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets--it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, get dry sherry that's sold with other fortified wines at your wine or liquor store.

Vegetarian Variation
To make this stir-fry vegetarian, use “no-chicken” broth, mushroom broth or vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth and vegetarian “oyster” sauce instead of regular oyster sauce. Vegetarian “oyster” sauce is made from mushroom extract and is great for adding depth of flavor to vegetarian stir-fries. Vegetarian “stir-fry sauce,” also made from mushrooms, can be used as a substitute as well.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition Facts

160.9 calories; protein 13.5g 27% DV; carbohydrates 16.9g 6% DV; exchange other carbs 1; dietary fiber 3.1g 13% DV; sugars 4.7g; fat 5.8g 9% DV; saturated fat 1g 5% DV; cholesterolmg; vitamin a iu 371.1IU 7% DV; vitamin c 5.3mg 9% DV; folate 56.9mcg 14% DV; calcium 224.8mg 23% DV; iron 2.9mg 16% DV; magnesium 64.1mg 23% DV; potassium 638mg 18% DV; sodium 753.2mg 30% DV; thiamin 0.2mg 15% DV; added sugar 1g.

Reviews (2)

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Rating: 4 stars
Pretty good attempt at a classic Chinese dish Hong shao-style is actually a very traditional form of authentic Chinese food. It usually doesn't have as much liquid as this dish but I would say the flavors are pretty close to the real deal. You definitely need the dried mushrooms or to use mushroom broth for that authentic taste. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Different Yet Satisfying Good alternative to traditional Chinese cuisine. While I'm not a fan of mushrooms I threw some broccoli and asparagus in the dish as a replacement. I also like a bit of duck sauce on the side to mix into the rice. Tofu preparation is also easier with a tofu press like the one from TofuXpress. Overall good dish with good taste. Read More