Bastardised version of Mapo Tofu? This is my second batch of mapo tofu to clear out the stock in my fridge. I've added my favourite eggplants in and the leftover pork from the bakzhang. My first batch even included in hardboiled eggs. Literally, all the shit I'm clearing shit from my fridge. But also all of my favourite things. HEHEHEH. And this is really the best one-pot meal to do that.
Traditional Mapo Tofu uses Szechuan pepper for that slightly spicy, slightly numbing taste. But because I couldn't find those peppers here, I substituted it for pink peppercorns instead. It still has the floral fragrance but without the numbness, which I can do without because I don't really like to numb my tongue. Why would anybody want to do that to their tongue? My tongue is made for greater things. HAHAH.
Before you embark on this, you must know...I hate to prep ginger, onions, garlic etc. So if I think the recipe can live with coarsely chopped shit or just throw in whole garlics, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I can assure you the flavour WILL be there but in a lazy way. And that's the beauty of Chinese food. Hehehehe. But if you're super an@l about such stuff, then feel free to dice everything up. Anyway, everything is cooked together, muddled in, a comfort homestyle cook. Once again, I din't measure the ingredients so I'm estimating. And you should too, this ain't rocket science. TASTE as you go and you will be good.
This recipe uses chilli bean paste, what specific sort am I looking for? I have no idea. I use the ones I found in Chinatown, dependable ol' Lee Kum Kee. The brand carries LOTS of different types of chilli bean sauce, just go with the one you think sounds nice. At least that's what I did. I bought the Guilin style chilli bean paste. LOLLL. RUSTIC COOKING, PEOPLE.
SAUCY GOODNESS ON RICE, REALLY THE BEST SORT OF COMFORT FOOD THAT I CAN EAT HEARTILY.
KINDA MAPO TOFU
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
1 inch ginger, coarsely sliced
1/2 a medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 large red chillies, largely chopped (or 3 bird's eye chilli, remove the stem and just use it whole)
1.5 tbsp pink peppercorn or szechuan peppercorns, finely crushed
1 packet of firm silken tofu, cubed (about 400g)
600g minced pork
1/2 a medium sized eggplant, sliced (optional)
350ml chicken stock/water
1.5 tbsp cornstarch
3 huge tbsp chilli bean paste
2 tbsp Light soya sauce
2 tbsp Dark soya sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp Olive oil
White pepper and salt to season
In a medium bowl, season minced meat with light soya, dark sauce, sesame oil and white pepper. Marinate it while you prep the vegetables etc.
In a large saucepan, add in olive oil and fry onions, smashed garlics, chillies until till fragrant and onions are soft.
Add in crushed peppercorns and fry but becareful not to burn it.
Add in minced meat, breaking it up into smaller pieces as you fry.
Then throw in eggplants (optional) and mix well and fry till slightly soft.
In a small bowl, stir in some chickenstock and cornstarch. This is to help dissolve the cornstarch.
Add in all the chickenstock, cornstarch mixture and bean paste into the pot. Stir well. Let it boil for 3-5 minutes until slightly thicken. Add in tofu, careful not to stir too much after else you'll break it all up. Just lightly scoop some sauce over the tofu or lightly press the tofu in the sauce so that it is covered and no longer tofu-white. Simmer for another 10 minutes till the eggplants are tender.
Season with white pepper and salt. Garnish with some scallions and serve with rice
You can do so many variations with this, by adding in already cooked hardboiled eggs and let it simmer together with the rest of the ingredients. Makes it even more hearty.