Ma Po Tofu {or, what to do with pork mince}11

Posted on April 19, 2012 by ChristieDinner Time

Twitter is awesome. Can I just say that?

Last week I had some pork mince in the fridge and absolutely no inspiration for what to cook with it.

Enter Twitter. Or more accurately, friends on Twitter. A few minutes after my tweet went out, I got more than ten responses with ideas.

This was my tweet:

This was the response:

Pretty amazing, huh?

As you can see, there was an overwhelming nod towards ma po tofu. A dish that I love, but had never made before. Sold! The lovely @SRKitchen even gave me a link to a Kylie Kwong recipe. Crowd sourcing had never been so easy!

There was just one small problem – I didn’t have all the ingredients – and it was too late to head out to the shops (with baby in tow). So I thanked everyone for their suggestions and promised to make it the next day. And I did.

Kylie Kwong’s recipe is great. I substituted a few ingredients that I didn’t have on hand or want to buy full bottles and I served it with a big bowl of stir fried gai larn (Chinese broccoli).

My only slight criticism is that it wasn’t spicy enough for my tastes. Next time I will leave some of the chilli seeds and maybe add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes. Other than that it was really delicious and I loved buying exotic ingredients that I haven’t cooked with before like salted black beans.

Actually, does anyone have a recipe that includes a large amount of salted black beans? I need to use up the rest of the packet!

Christie x

Ma Po Tofu

serves 4 when served with rice and greens
slightly adapted from this recipe

Chilli paste
1 large red chilli
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Main Ingredients
300 g packet of silken tofu
2 tablespoons peanut oil
200g fatty pork mince ground pork
2½ cm piece of ginger, cut into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salted black bean
¼ cup shao hsing wine
1 teaspoon kecap manis
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cup water

1. First, make the chilli paste. Cut chilli in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds using a spoon. Finely dice chilli and pound to a fine paste with salt, chilli flakes and peppercorns using a mortar and pestle, blender or small food processor. Stir in vegetable oil and set aside.

2. Gently remove tofu from packet and invert onto a plate. Carefully cut into 20 cubes by cutting lengthways into four equal slices, then widthways into five slices, draining off any excess liquid.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add pork and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove pork with a slotted spoon and set aside.

4. Add chilli paste to wok with ginger, garlic and black beans, then reduce heat and stir-fry on low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

5. Return pork to wok with wine and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add kecap manis and sugar and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Pour in water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and carefully slide tofu into wok, gently separating the cubes as they fall into the pork mixture. Simmer, covered, for 3 minutes.

6. Spoon into shallow bowls to serve and accompany with rice and greens.

Design + Copy © Fig & Cherry 2011