Tofu Steak with Wild Mushroom Ragout

The finished dish, tofu steak with mushroom ragout recipe

Tofu Steak with wild mushroom ragout

My carnivorous friend Bob Hart will never forgive me for this, but there are times when I would prefer to chow down on the bean rather than the bovine, mind you in our household it is mostly the latter. The curd of soy bean milk, Tofu first appeared in China over 2,000 years ago and its use rapidly spread across Asia. To coagulate the soy milk, the Chinese used lushui, which is magnesium chloride. The Japanese call this Nigari. One can only wonder how this technique was first invented, what possessed some person to juice a bean and then add the grey stuff that dripped from hessian bags of sea salt to thicken it into a curd, press it and then cook it? Almost as absurd as cheese. And then some bright spark worked out that it was ideal for de-icing highways. What a versatile thing.  The price varies depending on the packaging. If you want it to put on your driveway it is around $20 a tonne. If you want it to curdle your tofu, City Organics in Hobart sell it online for around $16 a kilo.

Bob Hart warns me that eating tofu could shrink my brain. Sound ridiculous? Well perhaps not. A study of 3,734 elderly Japanese-American men in Hawaii found exactly that. Men that consumed Tofu more than twice weekly were shown to suffer more cognitive impairment. Perhaps that is why my brain doesn’t recall as well as it did once. The other problem with soy products is the way they are farmed.

Conventionally farmed soy can contain high levels of phytoestrogens and zinc-blocking phytic acid, plus additional neurotoxic compounds such as dieldrin, aluminium, fluoride and cadmium. A good dose of that can really spoil your day, so I would buy organic if I were you. And I won’t even start on infant formulas which nowadays contain lots of soy.

However gentle reader, it is not my intention to put you off tofu. It is a versatile ingredient, has a great texture and readily absorbs other flavours. The following is a really easy quick mid week meal. I served it last night with caramelised roast beet with fetta and a salad of radicchio, fennel and rocket with a grenadine dressing.

Recipe: Tofu Steak with Wild Mushroom Ragout

Summary: A delicious tofu dish that is quick and easy, making it an ideal mid week meal.


    • 1 350-450g block firm tofu
    • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • for the rub
    • 1 teaspoon Chipotle powder
    • 1 teaspoon Ancho powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon wild greek oregano
    • for the mushroom ragout
    • 1 small handful dried porcini mushrooms
    • 6 dried shitake mushrooms
    • 1 knob cultured butter
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Grind all rub ingredients in a mortar and pestle
  2. Slice tofu into 1.5 cm slabs and coat with sweet soy
  3. Pat rub over tofu to lightly cover
  4. Place in oiled pan and bake at 180 for 45 minutes turning twice.
  5. For the ragout
  6. Soak dried mushrooms in hot water to cover
  7. When soft, drain and slice finely, reserve water
  8. In a saucepan fry garlic in butter and olive oil until frothy. Do not let it go brown.
  9. Add mushrooms and simmer gently, slowly adding the reserved soaking liquid.
  10. I like to drain of the liquid and serve it in small cups as soup.
  11. SImmer for ten minutes, stir in parsley, season to taste.
  12. Place tofu on a plate and top with mushroom ragout

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

My rating 4 stars:  ★★★★☆ 1 review(s)

About Andrew Dwyer

I am a cook, author of three published cookbooks, historian and expedition leader. I live in Jamieson, a town with a population of 200 in a valley where two rivers meet in the Australian High Country. I am married to Jane and we have three grown ups that were once children. They all return home regularly for short visits. Life is good. NB: This site uses Australian English, so if you are American you may struggle with the spelling.
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2 Responses to Tofu Steak with Wild Mushroom Ragout

  1. Tia says:

    Hi there! Such a good post, thanks!

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