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Ma-po tofu

Posted by Jeanne on October 27, 2009

This dish is for you, the suspicious about tofu.  The doubters and the haters and those who fear it’s white jiggliness.

For behold, this is tofu. And it is freaking AWESOME.


Ma-po Tofu, based on this recipe; originally published in Gourmet, June 2000

For sauce

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons hot bean paste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Additive-free kosher salt to taste

1 lb regular or soft (not silken) tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2 tablespoons corn, peanut, or canola oil

3/4 lb ground turkey

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 teaspoons Japanese sesame oil

1/2 to 1 teaspoon toasted Sichuan-peppercorn powder

3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion

Accompaniment: steamed rice

Make sauce: Stir together broth, bean paste, soy sauce, and kosher salt. Set aside.

Stir-fry turkey: Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until hot and add 1 1/2 tablespoons corn oil, swirling to coat. Add turkey and stir-fry, breaking up lumps, until juices run clear. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry over moderate heat until very fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Finish stir-fry: Stir reserved sauce, then add to turkey and bring to a simmer. Slide tofu 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 powder to taste, and 2 tablespoons scallion. Stir once or twice, then serve sprinkled with remaining tablespoon scallion.

Makes 3 or 4 main course servings.

Note:  I usually will also add about a pound of green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces, at the simmering stage.  It’s totally inauthentic, blah blah blah, but it cools the heat a bit and adds more vegetables to the dish.  Do with this information what you will.


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