Thursday, 13 January 2005

Ma Po Tofu

My husband and his mom loves tokwa (tofu). I have learned to like it, too, when I married into the family. Learning new ways of preparing the stuff was one of the tasks I gave myself and this is one is required since it's hubby's favourite. I used to do another version without the black beans. But this is definitely better. Thanks to a recipe in a cookbook (The Food of China) given by a dear friend from Boston. It is a treasure trove of traditional Chinese recipes. Thank you again dear amiga!

This is one of those dishes that taste better than it looks. It called for dried soy beans but I don't have them so I just doubled the black beans. I used pork instead of beef and it's fine. I also don't have the Sichuan peppercorn but it's already spicy enough so I don't think the absence made much difference. Try this it's really tasty. Great served with steaming white rice.

Ma Po Tofu
(Spicy Beancurd with Minced Meat)

500 g  beancurd (tofu)
3 Tbsp oil
125 g  minced beef or pork
2 Tbsp dried salted black beans
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chilli paste
2-3 spring onions - finely sliced
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
salt to taste
2 tsp cornflour - blended with 1 Tbsp water
1 tsp powdered Sichuan peppercorns or sansho (optional)
  1. Dice beancurd into 2cm (3/4 in) squares.
  2. Heat oil and stif fry beef and black beans for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add ginger, garlic, chilli paste and half of the spring onions. Stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add stock and beancurd. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Season with soy sauce and salt, then thicken with cornflour mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with Sichuan peppercorns and spring onion, serve.

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