Spicy tofu

Spicy tofu and soup

Spicy tofu and soup

Spicy tofu—or more properly, mabo dofu (or mapo doufu or mala tofu or 麻婆豆腐 or any combination therein)—is a Szechuanese dish that is extremely popular in Japan. I think Yusuke’s Japanese version isn’t as extreme vis-à-vis spiciness, but it rates favourably on my spicy meter. I could eat mabo dofu and rice every day.

Our soup for this meal was chicken broth with bean sprouts, green onions, and napa. The picture above makes the mabo dofu look strangely orange, but it usually looks more like the picture below, the blurriness of which is due to its being taken on a cell phone.

I happened to have Yusuke’s mabo dofu recipe already typed up, so here it is. Note that the authentic version of the dish is supposed to have ground pork or beef, but Yusuke is very sweet and leaves out the meat for me.

Yusuke’s mabo dofu recipe

Ingredients (measurements are approximate):

  • 1/4 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce (a.k.a. tobanjan)
  • Chicken broth: 1 tbsp chicken bouillon (powder) and 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp thickening powder/potato starch**
  • Green onions, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 package of tofu (Yusuke uses silken tofu rather than firm), cut into cubes
  • ground pork (optional)

Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the ginger and garlic

Add the green onion, chili sauce, and pork (if desired). Let it cook for a few minutes (if using pork, make sure the meat is cooked through!)

Add the broth, sugar, soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir

Add the tofu and let simmer for about 5 minutes

Reduce the heat

In a separate bowl, mix the starch with 2 tbsp water. Gradually drizzle the starch into the tofu and sauce. Add only one spoonful at a time while stirring constantly. This will thicken the sauce avoiding clumps.

**For this and other stir fries, Yusuke uses a starch powder that we can buy at a Japanese or Korean grocery store. He’s not sure how to translate the name, but it is a fine white powder made from potatoes. He bought some standard North American potato starch, but it did not work as well, so apparently there is something different about the Japanese brands.

Blurry mabo dofu

Blurry mabo dofu

1 Comment

  1. […] was a variation on mabo dofu, or spicy tofu, which Yusuke makes in a Japanified form of the Szechuanese […]

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