Monday, July 14, 2014

Mabo Don (Japanese-style Mapo Tofu)

Apparently, this classic spicy Szechuan Mapo Tofu dish was introduced to Japan by Chen Kenmin, father of Chen Kenichi, aka "Iron Chef Chinese," a regular on the iconic, original Iron Chef Japan cooking series from the 1990s produced by Fuji Television. I adapted this recipe from Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat's awesome cookbook Japanese Soul Cooking. The Japanese rendition is not as spicy as the Szechuan version and also incorporates distinctively Japanese ingredients like red miso, and sake. Really, really good, especially over steamed white rice.

1 lb. ground pork
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, finely chopped
2 cups low sodium chicken stock (2 c. water+ 2tsp. chicken powder)
3 tbsp. sake
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. red miso
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. water + 2 tbsp. potato or cornstarch (cornstarch slurry)
2 pkgs. medium tofu, cubed
1 tbsp. dobanjiang (hot bean paste)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. Szechuan peppercorn oil or 1-2 tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorns

1. Heat the sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground pork, ginger, garlic and scallions and stir fry until the pork has lost its pink color. Stir in the hot bean paste.

2. In the meantime, combine the chicken stock, sake, soy sauce, sugar, miso, rice vinegar in a measuring cup or medium bowl. 

3. Pour the chicken stock mixture into the pork and stir to combine. Add the tofu.

4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 2o minutes. Turn off heat and add the ground Szechuan peppercorns or peppercorn oil just before serving. 

Chopped cilantro, scallions, minced ginger and garlic. 

Cubed tofu. 

Sesame oil, Sake, soy sauce, hot bean sauce, and red miso. 

Chicken stock, red miso, hot bean sauce, sugar, sesame oil, sake, rice vinegar. 

Chicken stock mixture, hot bean paste & cornstarch slurry. 

Heat 1 tbsp. sesame oil in a pan, sauté the green onions, garlic & ginger briefly. 

Add the pork and cook until pink color is gone.  

Stir in the hot bean paste.  

 Add the chicken broth mixture.

Add the tofu and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Thicken with the cornstarch slurry. 

Szechuan peppercorn oil (I will post the recipe for this shortly).

Season with Szechuan peppercorn oil or ground Szechuan peppercorns before serving.  

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