Ma-Po Tofu with Tomatoes

I absolutely love Mapo Tofu, a classic Sichuan dish of simmered tofu and pork. My mother makes it every time I come home (from a nifty mix she gets from the Asian store 😉 ) My mother’s good friend and neighbor, Lily, who owns our favorite Chinese Restaurant (in Ohio), similarly makes it for me every time I stop in. I guess everyone back home knows my true loves…bacon and Mapo Tofu *winks*. So, imagine my delight while I am flipping through Mark Bittman’s “Food Matters Cookbook” and stumble upon a recipe for Mapo Tofu. While logic dictates that one can make it at home without the snazzy mix my mother uses, I had never tried it before. The result…deliciousness. I did use much more meat and red pepper flakes than the recipe called for but to each their own. Make it to your specifications and likes! Enjoy this Asian treat packed with lots of flavor and spice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil(could use less especially if using more meat)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes, or to taste (I use 1-2 teaspoons depending on how hot I want it…*sizzle*)
  • 4 oz ground pork (I used a full pound)
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions (can substitute chives/shallots if don’t have scallions/green onions)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine but DRAIN off juice)
  • 1/2 cup stock or water
  • 12 oz firm silken tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Instructions:

1. Put the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the garlic, ginger, and chile flakes and cook just until they begin to sizzle, less than a minutes. Add the pork and stir to break it up; cook, stirring occasionally, until it loses most of its pink color and beings to crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the scallions, tomatoes, and stock. Cook for a minute or two, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits of meat. Add the tofu and cook, stirring once or twice, until the tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the soy sauce, taste and season with salt and more red chili flakes (if you want more heat). Garnish with cilantro and serve

**I serve it over brown rice but it can just as easily be tossed with brown rice noodles or whole wheat spaghetti. The whole dish only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and cook so start the rice or noodles first thing!

**A Variation from Bittman: Ma-Po Edamame – Substitute 3 cups fresh or frozen shelled edamame for the tofu. It will take 5 to 7 minutes of cooking at a gentle simmer for fresh edamame to become tender.

I’m baaaackkk!

Rested and rejuvenated…still without a real phone…and a little bit more crispy 🙂 I am without a camera and still don’t have my pictures from my phone but I figured I would start back with a little hello…start up the quotes tomorrow and post a recipe long overdue. I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter weekend (and if you don’t celebrate Easter…a fabulous Spring weekend/week) filled with family, friends, and great food! More on my adventures to South Carolina and back. One of the best parts was hanging out with my little sister…we even have semi-matching glasses *smiles*

Life crashes…blog pauses

Hello all!

Sometimes life is a whirlwind that picks you up and spits you out someplace you didn’t expect to be. This can be a good thing, but has the potential to be a bad thing. On my way down to South Carolina to meet my family for my few days off this Easter weekend, my notoriously bad luck struck again. Due to some unfortunate circumstances that involve food poisoning…my phone dropping into a toilet…having no GPS, camera, way of contacting people…and subsequently a loss of all my photos for the time being…I have to take a pause from blogging for this upcoming week. Internet is spotty, and as luck would have it I forgot my computer (with all my recipes and corresponding pictures) back in Washington DC (I am using the hotel’s “guest” computer right now). Instead of dwelling on all the negative that is raining down, I am simply going to take this time of not having a phone and horrible access to internet as a challenge to enjoy a reprieve from technology. I hope that this little adventure will prove fruitful, and I will come back with some new ideas, posts, and pictures! Happy Easter Everyone! See you on the flip side 😉