Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ma Po Tofu (麻婆豆腐)

I used to make this dish using a spicy bean sauce that is readily prepared to make Ma Po Tofu. I simply cooked ground pork thoroughly, added tofu, and added a few spoonful of the special sauce. If I felt like it, I garnished it with chopped green onion. Simple.

For some strange reason, I can no longer find the spicy bean sauce at my local Asian grocery stores anymore. This prompted me to make the dish from scratch. I browsed and compared a few recipes and they all seem to call for chili bean sauce (or hot bean paste or spicy bean paste or something similar). I found it without problems at the store for $2.99. Not bad at all.

This recipe is adapted from here and here. I am glad I cut back on some of the spice because my dish was already spicy enough for me! I really liked this dish. It had just enough flavor without being mouth-numbing (which is actually the way it should be). Still, the dish somehow tasted more authentic having cook it from scratch instead of using a jar. I highly recommend it!

Ma Po Tofu:

- 1 block medium/firm tofu (19 oz box)
- 1/4 lb ground pork
- 2 tablespoons chili bean sauce (辣豆瓣酱)
- 1 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 tablespoons chili oil
- 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fermented black beans (rinsed and pounded)
- 2 stalks scallions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 slices ginger, chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- Salt to taste

Corn Starch Thickening:
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 2 tablespoon water

Pork Marinate:
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn starch

1. Combine salt, sugar, corn starch, and marinate pork for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, make the thickening by combining corn starch and water. Set aside.
2. Cut the tofu into small pieces, drain the water from the tofu. Set aside.
3. Heat up a pan and pour in the cooking oil and chili oil. Add the chopped garlic, chopped ginger, ground pork, chili bean sauce, and stir-fry until the pork is half-done.
3. Then add in soy sauce, fermented black beans, and stir-fry until aromatic.
4. Add in tofu and water; stir gently to blend the tofu (don't break them) well with the sauce.
5. Lower the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes.
6. Stir in corn starch thickening. Keep stirring.
7. Add in chopped scallions. Gently stir and blend well. Dish out and serve hot.

2 comments:

  1. An example of determination and success. We love this dish, we have eaten it almost everywhere we go. So when Joyce was forced to concoct her own formula, we ended up with something much better than the store-bought sauce jars. I mean, MUCH better!

    So amazing what a little girl can do. =D

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  2. I am glad you enjoyed the ma po tofu. Yes, my recipe is the authentic one, the way it's supposed to be! But I simply looooove spicy and numbing flavors. :)

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