Stir Fried Tofu and Shiitake Mushrooms in Spicy Black Bean Sauce

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  • 18 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 small leek (white and pale green parts only), cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fermented black beans, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chilli-garlic sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely crushed Szechuan peppercorns (wild pepper), or coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 2 14-ounce containers soft tofu, drained, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  1. Place mushrooms in large bowl. Pour 3 cups boiling water over; let soak until mushrooms soften, at least 25 minutes and up to 4 hours. Drain. Cut off stems and discard; finely chop caps.
  2. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons vegetable broth in 2-cup measuring cup. Stir in remaining broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  3. Heat oil in heavy large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot. Add mushrooms; stir-fry until browned, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add leek; stir-fry until beginning to brown, about 1 minute.
  5. Add black beans, ginger, garlic, chili-garlic sauce, and peppercorns; stir-fry 30 seconds.
  6. Stir cornstarch mixture to blend, then stir into vegetable mixture.
  7. Add tofu; toss gently to coat with sauce.
  8. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes.
  9. Spoon tofu mixture into serving bowl. Garnish with cilantro and serve.