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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mao Pao Tofu


I love tofu. I know a lot of people think it is tasteless and gelatinous but I think it is the plant world’s version of chicken; a blank canvas of protein. The Husband is a tofu hater, I think if I ever fed him any I would not remain married for long. He has actually never tried it but has some bizarre mental block about it. Anyways, I don’t claim that this version of Mao Pao Tofu is authentic, (after all, I go this recipe from Cooking Light), but is was pretty decent and rather fast to toss together. This is the kind of meal that you could make on a weeknight after walking in the door after work and it would not take you more than 20 minutes.


The first step is to fry the tofu. This step is actually not crucial but it gives it a nice texture. It is very important however, to buy extra firm tofu. I personally loathe using soft tofu in any kind of stir fried dishes as it just tends to fall apart and get smushed. I know you can press it but if you buy extra firm tofu that step is already done for you.


After the Tofu was sufficiently fried I added in a mix of ground veal, beef and pork. Actually, I wanted to use just ground pork but they didn’t have any in the grocery store and I had to buy a mixed pack of meat. Once that was cooked I added in garlic, ginger and Sambal Oelek. I actually bought Sambal Oelek for the first time for this recipe, it was nice being able to add another type of chili condiment to my cooking arsenal, although The Husband thinks that there are more than enough hot sauces littering the fridge and the pantry.


I don’t know where my brain was when I was making this but I took pitifully few pictures of this dish, but then again it was so fast and easy that there were not many steps of which to take pictures.

Since I didn’t have any Chinese cooking wine I ended up using Sherry which is the closest thing to it that I had. Honestly, one of the reasons that I rarely make Chinese food is that I always have to end up using a lot of substitutes and it doesn’t end up tasting very authentic. In addition to the Sherry I also used some chicken broth mixed with bit of soy sauce and cornstarch to make a sauce. I cranked up the heat so it came to a boil and the sauce thickened.


The last ingredient was chopped green onions. I wanted their freshness to come through so I added them in a minute before serving so they wilted a bit were not thoroughly cooked.


This was really fast and easy to make which is a nice change from some of my cooking marathons. Ok, this was not very authentic, in that respect I am guilty as charged. I ended up adding up a lot more Salmbal Oelek at the end since I like things very spicy and I found it didn’t have enough heat.  

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