Saturday, 23 January 2016


Mapo Tofu is a traditional Szechaun dish that has many variations but in its essence, it is pork and tofu cooked in a chili bean paste broth. I've been experimenting with tofu and Szechaun flavors a lot since the new year and this seemed like a delicious treat to try and make and upon taking my first bite; I loved it! I've made a veggie version of course using Quorn mince, which soaks up that delicious chili broth. The softness of the mince and tofu is complimented by some crunchy beansprouts and onions to create an amazing bowl of gorgeousness.

Obviously the traditional Mapo Tofu wouldn't use Quorn mince. I'm using it as a have a veggie in the house and because it good for my new year healthy eating routine. You can of course use pork mince if you wish, you may just need to fry it for a little longer initially to ensure its cooked thoroughly.

Gochujang paste is delicious! If you're a fan of spicy Asian food you will recognize it's taste straight away. You can pick up a tub of the stuff from large supermarkets or Asian supermarkets and it will last you a good while so it's well worth the investment. It does have quite a kick to it so don't be tempted to add in any more than 1 tsp. Even though you might think it's not enough you'll defiantly taste it in the finished dish and you'll risk overpowering everything if you're too heavy handed. 

As with my previous recipe for Szechuan salt and pepper tofu, you need to make sure your tofu is devoid of as much moisture as possible so that it doesn't disintegrate as you cook it. To do this, place a block of tofu on a plate, cover with kitchen paper and place a heavy object on top that you don't mind getting wet (I use my pestle and mortar!). Every half an hour or so, drain the plate, refresh the kitchen roll and repeat until you get too a point where the kitchen roll is no longer being saturated with water. The tofu should now feel a lot dryer and firmer than before and is ready to cut into cubes.

Sesame oil, Shaoxing rice wine, Chinese cabbage and beansprouts are now all becoming readily available in larger supermarkets or can be picked up in Asian supermarkets. You might have a problem finding Chinese cabbage so you can replace this with another leafy green veg if you wish. Pak Choi would be great to keep with the Asian style of the dish other wise a normal green cabbage, kale or even spinach would work a treat too.

The recipe below will make enough for four. If you've planned in advance and got your tofu firm and moisture free earlier in the day, this is a quick meal to rustle up taking no more than half an hour from ingredients to plate;

Veggie Mapo Tofu

200g Quorn Mince
1 Tbsp Grated Ginger
1 Tsp Gochujang Paste
200ml Vegetable Stock
200g Firm Tofu Cut Into 2cm Cubes
1 Tsp Caster Sugar
1 Tsp Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Shaoxing Rice Wine Vinegar
Handfull Chopped Chinese Cabbage
Handfull Beansprouts
A Few Tbsp Of Dried Crispy Onions

  1. Begin by frying the mince and ginger together in a lightly oiled pan on a medium heat for around three minutes until the mince is soft. Add in the Gochujang paste and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring as you go until all the mince becomes coated in the paste.
  2. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Place the tofo cubes into the stock and spoon over some of the stock to keep the tofu moist.  Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 5 minutes before removing the lid and adding in the sugar, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, cabbage and beansprouts (reserve some beansprouts for garnishing later). 
  3. Stir everything together (carefully so the tofu doesn't break apart!) until the stock has coated the cabbage and beansprouts. Cover and simmer for a further two minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and garnish with the reserved beansprouts and crispy onions.

I like to serve the Mapo Tofu with some egg fried rice. Spoon the rice into bowls and then spoon over the Mapo Tofu, letting that Gochujang flavored stock dribble down through the rice. You can then garnish with more beansprouts and crispy onions to create a showstopper of a dish that looks a lot more complicated then it actually is. Don't tell anyone that though! The soft tofu and Quorn mince will soak up the Gochujang flavors which will then dance across your taste buds whilst the beansprouts and crispy onions add a contrasting texture to add another dimension of excitement to this sensational Szechuan staple!

No comments:

Post a Comment