This vegan snack goes very well with champagne or cocktails. It's easy to make, but leave plenty of time to soak the mushrooms and press the tofu. You can make the mixture hours or even the day before you want to fry the fritters.
I like to double fry the fritters. The first frying cooks the ingredients, and can be done before your guests arrive. The second frying re-heats them, and should be done just before serving.
Rinse the mushrooms under cool running water, then place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for about two hours, or until fully hydrated.
Dry the blocks of tofu with paper towels, then wrap them in a clean dish cloth and place them on a tray. Put another tray directly on top of the wrapped tofu, add some weights (canned ingredients work well) and refrigerate for about two hours.
Unwrap the blocks of tofu and put them in a bowl. Mash the tofu into a slightly rough paste – you can use a potato masher or your hand.
Squeeze the water out of the mushrooms. Remove and discard the stems and cut the caps into small dice. Mince the shallots and spring onions, and roughly chop the fresh coriander.
Put the mushrooms, fu yu, shallots, spring onion and coriander in the bowl with the tofu, then season with the white pepper, shichimi togarashi and one teaspoon of salt. Mix in the nori, then taste for seasonings and correct, if necessary. Refrigerate for about two hours.
Pour cooking oil to the depth of about 2.5cm (1in) in a wide skillet and heat to 170°C (340°F). Shape the mixture into 2cm (⅞in) balls and fry them until the exterior is set and the balls are pale golden. Cook them in batches; do not crowd the pan. Drain on paper towels.
After frying all the balls you can give them the second frying immediately, or later, as you wish. Heat the oil to 190°C (375°F), add the tofu balls and cook for about 30 seconds, turning them almost constantly. Drain on paper towels.
Make the dipping sauce. Mix together the salt and pepper, then divide between small, shallow bowls. Mix in fresh lime juice to form a loose sauce.
Stack the tofu balls onto a serving dish, garnish with lime wedges and serve with the dipping sauce.