Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who gets take-out when you can have this?

Chinese food is something that people don't usually attempt at home--the real stuff, that is. But I have this cookbook from Japan that is all authentic Chinese food, and I tried 麻婆豆腐 (often called "Ma Po Tofu" on Chinese menus) because it is a Japanese favorite. And it worked! I had to skimp on a couple ingredients I couldn't find here in the U.S., but it still has the authentic flavor that I grew up with. So here is the slightly Americanized version of Ma Po Tofu. And don't be afraid that there's tofu in it. It is just a wonderful, silky addition to the rich, heavy sauce and meat. mmmm. Can't go wrong with real Chinese!

The thing about Chinese food is, though it is pretty easy to make, it takes a lot of ingredients. That's the only challenge, I think. Good luck finding everything!

麻婆豆腐 (Ma Po Tofu)
Serves 4
4 servings of rice
1 package "silken" tofu, cut into little cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T grated ginger
5-7 stalks of scallions, minced
vegetable oil
1 1/2 C chicken broth
1 T miso paste
1 T soy sauce
1 T mirin
1/2 t corn starch
1 t water
1/2 lb ground pork
sesame oil to taste

1 T Chili Garlic Sauce:

  1. In a measuring cup, mix the mirin, soy sauce, chicken broth, and miso paste until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the corn starch and water until dissolved.
  3. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and boil the tofu for a few minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a wok, heat vegetable oil on medium high heat. Add chili garlic sauce and cook until it changes in color slightly. Add garlic and ginger and continue to cook for about 30 seconds. Add pork and cook through.
  5. Add chicken broth mixture. Add the tofu and stir. (the best way to do this is to use your wooden spoon and push everything from side to side gently).
  6. Add cornstarch mixture and continue to gently stir until slightly thickened.
  7. Sprinkle with minced scallions and sesame seed oil. Serve hot on top of rice.

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