麻婆豆腐 mabo-tofu (chinese spicy tofu)

i was very hungry when i decided to cook 麻婆豆腐 mabo-tofu for dinner last night. mabo-tofu is a chinese dish, made with tofu, minced pork, chopped leek, ginger & garlic, tasted with 豆板醤 (doubanjiang, chinese spicy bean paste) and 甜麺醤 (tian mian jiang, chinese sweet soy paste). it’s easy & quick to make, highly nutritious, appetising and satisfying.

i once read somewhere that the dish is not regarded as a sophisticated dish among chinese people. “mabo-tofu” means “grandmother’s tofu”, based on which you can guess that it is something people eat at home but not at restaurants.

anyway, for whatever reason, japanese love this dish. you can find prepackaged sauce mix of mabo-tofu at any grocery stores, but i like making it from scratch. here is the recipe:

麻婆豆腐 a la keiko (for 2 people)

1 pack of tofu (silk)
150g of minced pork
20cm of white leek
1 clove of garlic
1 piece of ginger, roughly the same size as the garlic clove
1 table spoon of cooking oil
1 1/2 tea spoon of doubanjian
1 1/2 tea spoon of tian mian jiang
1 cup of water
1 tea spoon of chicken stock powder (this time, i used kelp powder instead)
1 table spoon of sugar
salt & pepper to taste
1 tea spoon of sesame oil
1 table spoon of mixed starch, mixed with 2 table spoons of water (to be prepared in a separate small bowl)

direction:

1. drain the water out of tofu by putting the tofu on a strainer.
2. finely chop the garlic, leek and ginger
3. in a large frying pan, pour the cooking oil and quickly stir-fry the garlic in low heat
4. once the smell of garlic emerges, add ginger & leek, and stir-fry a bit more (make sure not to burn the ingredients)
5. add the minced pork, put it to medium heat, pour salt & pepper to taste and stir-fry a bit more
6. once the colour of the pork became brown, add the water, bring it to boil
7. add the stock powder, doubanjian, tian mian jiang, and sugar. mix well
8. taste the sauce to make sure it is salty, spicy, and tasty enough – if it is too spicy, add a bit of sugar. if it is not spicy enough, add a bit of doubanjian. if it is not tasty enough, add a bit of salt and stock powder.
9. once the sauce is ready, cut the tofu into dices (2cm x 2cm)
10. add the diced tofu into the sauce and mix it very gently with the sauce (otherwise the tofu gets broken into pieces)
11. once the sauce is mixed with the tofu, turn off the heat and pour the sesame oil
12. add the well-mixed starch mix from the rim of the pan, and mix gently with the sauce and tofu – the starch will give nice & thick texture to the sauce

done! serve it with freshly cooked white rice. 謝謝!

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