Monday, June 25, 2007

Mapo Tofu

Tofu has always been one of my favourite dishes as it's pretty versatile and adds different texture to dishes. There are mainly the soft, silken tofu's that are very fragile and breaks easily, or the harder, firmer version which are usually deep fried. Yet both types can still be used in soups, stews and stir fry dishes.

So here's a recipe for a classic tofu dish for those who love a slightly spicier kick to the relatively bland tofu, it's called Mapo Tofu, quite standard in most Chinese restaurants I'd presume. Getting the sauce right with a good balance of sweet, salty and hot is the key to this dish. The version I present below is a quick and simple method, do try it out! And of course, let me know how it goes :)

Mapo Tofu


2 x 400g packs of firm white tofu (in water), slice into big cubes
100g of minced pork
Garlic, 1 bulb, skinned and chopped coarsely
Spring onions, sliced coarsely
Chilli, deseeded and sliced coarsely
4-5 bulbs of shallots, deep fried
2 table spoon of preserved bean paste (tau cheo)
1 table spoon of hot chilli paste or sambal (I used a mixture of grinded fresh chilli and garlic)
300ml water
1 tablespoon of cornflour, dissolved in 2 tea spoon of water
Sugar, to taste


First, heat up the wok and stir fry the chopped garlic till fragrant and add the minced pork.
Continue stir frying till slightly browned.
Then, gently put the tofu pieces in and stir carefully around the wok and try not to break them.
Add the sauce mixture of tau cheo and fresh chilli paste.
Continue stirring for a minute or two before adding the water and let the tofu simmer for 5 minutes or so.
Do give the sauce a taste and add some sugar accordingly. You wouldn't want it too sweet, salty nor too hot. The sugar should balance out some of the saltiness and spiciness.
When you're satisfied with the taste, then add the cornflour mixture and stir the tofu around for a few seconds till sauce thickens and turn off the heat.
While it's still hot, garnish with some chopped spring onions, chili and fried shallots before serving.

There you go :) Note that I was slightly unconventional in the version of this picture with added mushroom as well as a friend was a mushroom fanatic.

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