What’s cooking, good-looking? Mapo Tofu, a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province, can look dazzingly attractive in its original flaming red-hot style. Today, we show you how you can cook up a not-so-oily and non-spicy version that glides down little throats easily.
By removing three items listed as optional in the ingredients below, namely la dou ban jiang, rice wine and ginger, you will still be left with a very tasty version of this protein dish.
Or you can simply reduce the amount of the spicy fermented broad bean paste. That’s the best part about home-cooking – the ability to mix and match to your family’s whims and fancies.
To prepare this dish, your child can help you to peel off the skin on the garlic. You could chop up more garlic and save it up in an air-tight bottle in the fridge for future dishes. Alternatively, to save even more time, buy minced garlic in a bottle at supermarkets.
He/she can also help with removing the roots of the spring onion and rinsing them clean. Plus, it’ll be fun to for your child to measure the ingredients listed in portion 2 below and plonk them all in a bowl. Even if it’s inaccurate, you can still nod mmm… and balance it out by doing a quick taste test when the dish is almost done.
Regale your child to eat up the tofu for silky-smooth skin. Interestingly, Mapo means pock-marked (ma zi) popo (grandmother in Chinese). Apparently, the irony of the dish is this – the original version was served at a restaurant in Chengdu run by an old lady with pockmarks!
Recipe for Mapo Tofu
- 150 grams of minced pork (or chicken)
- 1 box of silken tofu (or soft beancurd) sliced into large cubes
- 1 tablespoon (each) of chopped garlic, ginger (optional) and spring onion
- 1 tablespoon of fermented hot bean paste also known as la dou ban jiang (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of rice wine (optional)
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- Heat the pan and add 3 tablespoons of oil, stir-fry the ingredients listed in portion 1 then add in the minced pork/chicken and stir-fry it until it is fragrant and half-cooked.
- Add the ingredients listed in portion 2 then add the beancurd.
- Let the dish cook on its own. Don’t stir it so that you won’t break up the tofu. If you need to, just use a ladle to move it around a little.
- Add 1.5 teaspoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water to thicken the gravy.
- Dish it up without breaking up the soft tofu.
Good for a family of three to four.
Simple #homecooked-recipes is a new daily series specially developed to inspire beginner cooks with work and kids to handle, and not much time to spare in the kitchen. The recipes are deliberately simple enough even for kids to help you with them. Click here for more simple home-cooked recipes.