Hello, it’s me again! Today, I would like to share with you a dish that I make quite often. It is one of those comfort foods that’s hot, hearty, spicy and extremely easy to make. Did I say easy? It’s called Mapo Tofu and with a fresh bowl of steaming rice, it’s one of the best Asian comfort foods around. Just imagine the meaty, juicy texture of ground pork, the spicy kick of garlic chili paste and the soft, silky pleasure that is tofu. Are you ready for this one?
*This recipe is from Amy Kaneko’s book, “Let’s Cook Japanese Food”. I changed it slightly, but I have to credit where credit is due. Her book is an inspiration.
- 3 cloves of garlic and an inch of ginger, minced
- 1/2 pound, ground pork
- 2 packages, soft tofu, drained
- 2 tsp (or more), garlic chili paste
- 3 or 4 green onions chopped
- 1 Tbsp, soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp, sake
- 1 tsp, sugar
- 1 tsp, Oyster sauce
- 1/2 cup, chicken broth
- 2 tsp, corn starch dissolved in a little water
The finishing touch
- a dash of sesame oil
Heat up a skillet with a little cooking oil, then add the garlic and ginger. Let it get fragrant, then add the ground pork. Let it cook until brown. When the pork is almost ready, throw in the green onion and cook for a minute or two.
In a bowl, combine the soy, sake, sugar, oyster sauce and chicken broth and mix well. Keep it close.
Once your meat mixture is ready, add the chili paste. Put in as much as you can handle. I like it with a little kick, so I put 3 or 4 tsp. Once the meat is spicy, pour in the bowl of sauce and stir it into the meat mixture.
When the sauce is hot, add the tofu. You can cut the tofu into cubes beforehand, but I like to just chunk it up with the wooden spoon as I put into the meat and sauce mixture. You want big chunks here. Nothing neat or fancy, just chunks. Gently, I mean gently stir the tofu into the mix since the tofu is very delicate.
Ok, once the everything is hot, put in the corn starch to thicken the sauce. Stir again gently to thicken and you’re ready to rock. Serve on fresh bowls of steamed rice and enjoy.
*I have added eggplant to this dish and it’s even better. For a vegetarian alternative, use the tofu ‘ground’ for that signature texture contrast. You can use veggie broth as well.