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MaPo Tofu

Updated: Jul 5, 2019

麻婆豆腐


Mapo Tofu is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province.


During the Tongzhi period of the Qing Dynasty, from the mid to late 1800s, a small restaurant operated close to the Wanfu bridge at the northern gate of the Sichuan capital of Chengdu. The owner, Mrs. Chen, was known for her skill and particularly her tofu cooked with minced beef, chili, pepper, soy sauce and other ingredients. This spicy and delicious dish was very popular with the locals, and thanks to the marks on Mrs. Chen’s face people began to call it ‘mapo tofu’ (from ma, pock-marked, and po, old woman).


Some of the mapo tofu dishes I ate before are a bit disappointed with an imbalance of flavors. Too spicy and too salty that you couldn't taste anything, also it was super oily. Sichuan food is about balancing flavours. It's not about to blow out your socks off.


When making this dish, I use medium tofu. You can get them from any Asian stores.


People use ground beef for the classic mapo tofu. Below receipt I use pork. You can use quorn mince or without meat if you're vegetarian.


Some of mapo tofu dishes I eaten before are a bit disappointed with an imbalance of flavours - too spicy and too salty that you couldn't taste anything, also it was super oily. Sichuan food is about balancing flavours. It's not about blow out your socks off.


When making this dish, I use medium tofu. You can get them from any Asian stores.


People use ground beef for the classic mapo tofu. Below receipt I use pork. You can use quorn mince or without meat if you're vegetarian.


Here is my vision of MaPo Tofu.




Mapo Tofu


Serves 4


Ingredients


300g firm tofu

250g pork mince (beef, chicken, quorn mince or without meat for vegetarian option)

3 tbsp cooking oil

1 tbsp minced ginger

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large tbsp broad bean paste

1 tsp fermented black beans (optional)

1-2 tsp Sichuan peppercorn, toasted and finely grounded

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp light soy

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 - 11/2 cup of water

Salt

2 Spring onions, cut the white parts to matchstick long, finely chopped the green part for garnish

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp cold water


Method


- Put some water and pinch salt in a saucepan and bring to boil. Meanwhile, Cut the tofu to 1/2-inch cubes and add to the boiling water. Boil for a few minutes, drain, then set a side. This can help to make the tofu tenderer and less easy to break them during cooking.


- Marinate the beef with soy and sesame oil, set a side.


- Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, fermented black beans and white part of the spring onion and board bean paste. Stir until you can smell all the fragrances.


- Now add the marinated beef, fry the meat until crispy.


- Add water to the mixture and bring to boil over high heat. Now add the cornstarch water and let it simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce thicken.


- Gently slide the tofu cubes and mix well. Taste the dish and add more salt or soy if needed. If too spicy, add some sugar can balance the taste. Just be careful, is very hot at this point.


- Drizzle in a little sesame oil before transferring out to a large bowl. Garnish with spring onion and toasted Sichuan peppercorn.


- Serve with steamed rice. Enjoy! :)


* For vegetarian - skip step 2 and 4. Also, you can use extra tofu instead meat. Some cut to cubes, some break down to very small pieces, just like breadcrumbs. Same, marinate with soy and sesame oil. You can add some mushroom, garden peas, broccoli etc. Why not create your own!




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