meatlessmonday Flavorful and Spicy Ma Po Tofu
I’ll put it out there….Tofu is not in my repertoire. After some not so good experiences, I now need to move on. Former sister-in-law’s cooking, vegan acquaintances who were never going to join my inner circle, job interview in pastry chef at healthy restaurant, I like my last course to be sweet. Way to healthy and on and on.
But I need to re-learn and embrace this protein. My friend Bonnie swears by it and I trust her food judgement. I’m taking the challenge. Here’s to Tofu. This is a stir-fry dish so it’s best to have all ingredients prepared and ready to add to the pan. Also the key to success is to cook at a very high temperature.
Rice on the side with some sauté bok choy complete this plate.
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons hot bean paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 lb regular tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon toasted Sichuan-peppercorn, ground (substitute black if you must)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion
Stir together broth, bean paste, soy sauce. Set aside.
Slide tofu into a saucepan of simmering water and keep at a bare simmer while stir-frying rest of dish.
Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until hot and add 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, swirling to coat. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry over moderate heat until very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir reserved sauce. Drain tofu in a large sieve and slide into sauce, stirring gently.
Stir cornstarch mixture and add to stir-fry. Bring to a boil, stirring gently, and cook until thickened and glossy, about 15 seconds.
Turn off heat and sprinkle with sesame oil, Sichuan-peppercorn to taste, and 2 tablespoons scallion. Stir. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon scallion.