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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ma Po Tofu

a few weeks ago i had a severe hankering for tofu. just so you know, i hanker a lot. not just for food but for random stuff. and i usually hanker for long periods of time, gorging on whatever it is that i'm hankering until i no longer have that hanker. like that time in college when jewel was big and her song Foolish Games was out? i was talking to a boy who was on the track team and he loved the song too, so we would listen to it together, over and over again. how completely maudlin and self-indulgent, yes? it brings forth a smile and grimace when i hear this song now. that's how i feel about tofu. i know rationally speaking, it's good for you but it was pretty much shoved down my throat growing up. prepared properly, it's quite good. i'm sure my grandparents and parents made a variation of ma-po tofu, throwing in their spin on the dish. i can't recall it and i'm pretty sure if i could, i wouldn't have such conflicting feelings for tofu sometimes. any which way, i threw it out there on twitter for some tofu inspiration and wandering chopsticks offered up her ma-po tofu recipe. the recipes i saw online really much had tofu simmering in a spicy sauce, topped with meat and veggies. simple enough. i didn't follow a recipe, i used what i had available. i was satisfied. the hankering abated.

tofu love



Ma Po Tofu
it's not even a proper recipe because i didn't measure, nor was it spicy and szechuan-y

ground pork, probably about 1/2 pound
wood ear fungus, softened in warm water and julienned
black bean sauce, maybe 1 tbl
garlic chili paste, maybe 1 tsp
1 leek, cleaned and chopped (diced onions is fine, i just happened to have a lone leek in the fridge)
1 container of firm tofu

again, cooking this up is pretty much at your discretion. in a hot pan, brown the ground pork until cooked thru. add leeks and toss around with meat until reached desired softness. throw in the wood ear fungus, as well as the black bean sauce and garlic chili paste. adjust according to taste. i may have added a bit of fish sauce for added taste but it's really up to you. meanwhile, with the tofu, press down onto paper towels to get rid of the excess water. cut into cubes. gently add tofu to the meat mix and incorporate until warmed thru. garnish with spring onions. serve with rice.

008



today's song: another nostalgic college angst song: Keith Sweat, Twisted

(can i just say, 1996-1997 represent!)

11 comments:

  1. that looks yummy! i love ma-po tofu; my mom makes her own version of it at home, and while it's spicy, it's not ma-la spicy.

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  2. Good improvisation. This looks really good. I love Mapo Tofu. There's something about the different flavors and the contrasting textures of ground pork and silky tofu that can't be beat.

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  3. Christy, i love spicy food and i'm assuming when you say ma-la spicy you mean tongue numbing, mind blowing spiciness? i think in my old age i am conservative with my spice intake because i want to ensure i can enjoy the all the other flavors AND save my tummy from hurting. :) thanks so much for stopping by!

    leela, i completely agree with you. i was concerned that the tofu would be hold up in the mixing and be lost next to the ground pork but the contrast was wonderful!

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  4. Great recipe! I love tofu and will definitely try this!

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  5. chow and chatter, thank you. it aptly describes me. :)

    alisa, thank you alisa. hope it turns out well for you!

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  6. I guess I'm lucky that tofu was never forced down my throat.
    This is comfort food for me. Never had this until way after college, though.

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  7. I guess I'm lucky that tofu was never forced down my throat.
    This is comfort food for me. Never had this until way after college, though.

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  8. Good improvisation. This looks really good. I love Mapo Tofu. There's something about the different flavors and the contrasting textures of ground pork and silky tofu that can't be beat.

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