How to cook Chinese dish “Mapo Tofu”

Mapo tofu is a combination of tender tofu and spicy chili-and-bean-based sauce, sprinkled with minced meat, usually pork or beef, and topped with some chopped scallion pieces. The snow-white bean curd, red beef, and green scallion contribute to a colorful, spicy, tender, and aromatic dish.

How to cook Chinese dish "Mapo Tofu"

Ingredients

MapoToufu

500g fresh tofu, 120g vegetable oil, 150g minced (scalped) beef, 5.5g salt, 20 ml Mapo tofu sauce (soy sauce), chili powder (to taste), 20g Pixian bean paste, 250g double-boiled soup (made from bone with ginger and pepper), 50g green garlic sprouts, soy sauce (to taste), 40g soy flour and water (the starchy sauce), (2g chicken powder), chili powder and chopped scallions (to taste).

Preparation

Choose a 500g piece of fresh and tender soft white tofu, not a pickled tofu. Check whether it is fresh by smelling it or kneading it. Dice the tofu into 2 cm (½–1″) cubes, and put them into a bowl of hot water to remove astringency.

Cooking

Heat up a wok with the prepared vegetable oil to around 80 °C. Fry the chopped beef in the wok till it becomes light brown, and then add the salt, Mapo tofu sauce, chili powder and Pixian bean paste. Keep frying.

Add the double-boiled soup and diced tofu, and use a moderate heat to cook till tasty. Add the garlic sprouts and soy sauce, cook for a few seconds and thicken with the starchy sauce. (Add chicken powder if you like.)

Serve in a shallow bowl, topped with chili powder and chopped scallions.

A Chinese style “Kung Pao Chicken”

Reading the news that Angela Merkel, the German chancellor learned to cook “Kung Pao Chicken” during her visit in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, I am laughing out and also feel proud that this Chinese traditional dish has captured so many foreign leaders’ heart.

Kung Pao chicken, also transcribed as Gong Bao or Kung Po, is a spicy stir-fry dish made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers.

For a real authentique one, you must go and taste in person in China!

Kung Pao Chicken

Here is one of the most popular recipes:

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 8 to 10 dried red chilies
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Preparation

1. Marinate the chicken: In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the chicken and stir gently to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

2. Prepare the sauce: In another bowl, combine the black vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, and Sichuan pepper. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved and set aside.

3. You may need to turn on your stove’s exhaust fan, because stir-frying dried chilies on high heat can get a little smoky. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the base. Add the chilies and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, or until the chilies have just begun to blacken and the oil is slightly fragrant. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients. Stir in the peanuts and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle the scallion greens on top, and serve.