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Green Beans, Tofu and Mushrooms in Black Bean Sauce

I was craving chinese green beans with ground pork but I didn't have any ground pork, which was a problem. I also didn't have any dried shrimp or the chinese preserved vegetables that I would need to make them properly and they wouldn't turn out as yummy as the ones we get at Perfect Restaurant anyway so I gave up before I started.

What I did have was a big bag of green beans, some deep fried tofu and a big handful of brown mushrooms so it was time to improvise. I wasn't even going to share this one since it was just a quick weeknight dinner born of desperation and  the absolute lack of desire to go outside but it was so delicious that I changed my mind. We ate this over some brown sushi rice with a side of left over chinese bbq pork - clearly we have reached our sodium limit for the week. I guess we can eat greek yogurt with berries and drink pints of green tea until the weekend to try to even things out but, man, it was some tasty business.

Green Beans, Tofu and Mushrooms in Black Bean Sauce

serves 4-6

1 lb green beans, clean with ends cut off
2-4 tbls canola oil or other veg oil
*1/2 lb deep fried tofu, cubed
1 tbls fermented black bean sauce
1 tsp gochujang or to taste (korean hot chili paste) or any other chili paste you might prefer
1 to 2 tbls soy sauce to taste ( i like salty so i use two)
1 tbls grated ginger
3 big cloves garlic, chopped
about 10 big, brown mushrooms, cut into big chunks
1/4 cup chicken stock or water to make it vegetarian or vegan

Heat about a tbls of oil in a non stick frying pan over medium high heat and add the green beans. Cook the green beans for about 8 to 10 minutes until they are sort of blistered in spots and just cooked. Remove them from the pan and set aside in a big bowl.
Add another tbls of oil into the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, for a couple of minutes until they start to brown and then add the tofu. Continue to cook until the tofu is heated through. Pour the tofu and mushrooms into the bowl with the green beans.
Into the hot pan, add a dribble of oil and throw in the garlic and ginger. Stir quickly for a few seconds and then add the black bean sauce, gochujang and the soy sauce. Add the beans, tofu and mushrooms back into the pan and give the pan and good few shakes or stir it well to make sure the beans are coated with the black bean sauce before pouring in the chicken stock(or water if you choose). Cook for another minute or two until most of the chicken stock is reduced by half and take the whole pan off of the heat and serve.
*I buy fried tofu vacuum sealed in plastic at any asian store. If you can't find it, you can buy extra firm tofu and drain it and use that.

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