tofu mushroom hotpot with miso and chilli

This dish isn't exactly instagrammable (is any brown food?) but if you're after moreish and delicious vegetarian winter comfort food that's also good for you, it doesn't come much better than this! It's also perfect to serve to people who claim they hate mushrooms (aka my husband). Add more chilli, garlic, ginger and miso to your own taste.



Makes 4 hearty helpings

300g white or chestnut mushrooms

2 cloves garlic

3/4 inch long piece of fresh ginger

3 spring onions

1 x 396g pack firm tofu (preferably organic)

1 tablespoon groundnut oil/coconut oil/chilli oil/garlic oil

2 leeks, washed and sliced

2 medium courgettes, sliced

1 tablespoon minced chilli or chilli paste (I like Gochujang - Korean chilli paste), more if you like it hot

4 tablespoons miso paste (Hikari red or brown is very good, and vegetarian)

850ml vegetable stock

Brown rice vinegar, to taste

Tamari, to taste

Two rough handfuls of spinach leaves

Sesame oil or chilli oil, to serve

Steamed rice, to serve

Pulse mushrooms, garlic, ginger and spring onions in a food processor until it resembles mince. If you don't have a food processor, get one. Or just chop everything finely and set aside :)

Drain the tofu from the packaging, patting off the excess liquid with a paper towel. Cut the block of tofu in half through the middle (as you might cut a sponge cake to prepare it for its filling) and then into roughly 2cm sized cubes. Set aside.

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat then add the leeks and courgettes. Cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften (but not colour too much). Add the minced mushroom mixture, increase the heat slightly and stir until combined. Add the minced chilli/chilli paste and miso paste, stir until combined and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add a splash of water (or even cooking sherry if you have it handy) if it starts to stick.

Add the tofu pieces, stirring gently to combine, then add the vegetable stock, again stirring gently to ensure everything is mixed in. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until everything is cooked through and the broth is flavoursome. Taste it - you may want to add more miso or chilli. A few minutes before you want to eat, add some handfuls of spinach, stir and simmer until the leaves are wilted. Add a splash of brown rice vinegar and/or tamari, to your taste.

Serve in bowls with steamed rice to soak up the delicious broth/sauce. Drizzle each portion with a little bit of sesame or chilli oil.