Sichuan Ma Po Tofu

meatlessmonday Flavorful and Spicy Ma Po Tofu

Thanks PBS for Image

Thanks PBS for Image

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.

Serves 4

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
Stir Fry
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

Make sauce
Stir together broth, bean paste, soy sauce. Set aside.

Poach tofu
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.


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