Experiment with adding favorite spices to come up with your own version of red-cooked tofu.
1 pound beef
4 dried mushrooms
8 ounces pressed tofu
1 cup light soy sauce
¼ cup dark soy sauce
¼ cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
4 teaspoons white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
2 slices ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
1 star anise
Cut the beef into thin slices. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for at least 20 minutes to soften. Gently squeeze to remove any excess water and slice.
Cut the tofu into ½-inch cubes. Combine the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine, white sugar, and brown sugar, and set aside.
Add oil to a preheated wok or skillet. When oil is hot, add the ginger slices and garlic and stir-fry briefly until aromatic. Add the beef and cook until browned. Before the beef has finished cooking, add the tofu cubes and fry briefly.
Add the sauce and 2 cups water. Add the star anise. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer. After 1 hour, add the dried mushrooms. Simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced. If desired, remove the star anise before serving.