Mapo Tofu “ish” – Quick and Easy

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Mapo Tofu is one of the popular Chinese dishes in Japan. The dish contains Tofu and meat (normally beef or pork mince) quickly simmered in a spicy sauce. It originated from Sichuan province, from which you can easily imagine that the dish is very hot and spicy! Although the Japanese version is much milder, it still has some kick and we love eating it with rice.

It is very easy and quick to cook, well…, if you already have the 2 important ingredients in your kitchen – Doubanjang (fermented broad been and chilli paste) and Dou-chi (fermented black bean paste), which make this dish “Mapo”.

Yes…, I know some Asian stores sell them…, however if you are like me and do not cook much Siuchuan food, these 2 jars will be sitting and doing nothing in the kitchen cabinet for a next 3 months… So I asked myself “Can I replace them with something that I already have to make Mapo Tofu- ish dish??”.

The Answer is YES. In this recipe, I use very common Japanese ingredients – Miso, Soy Sauce, Cooking and Chilli, which gives a depth and spiciness to the dish. I also add a lot of vegetables, so that this will be a complete dish especially when you serve it on rice (like me serving it on brown rice in the picture).

For meat, I like using Kangaroo mince as I love its leanness and sustainability in Australia, but you can use any meat you like. Beef or pork mince will be lovely. Same with vegetables. Although I recommend Daikon Radish (or normal while radish) as the freshness and crunchiness works in this dish well.

If you need something quick, easy, and something different, please try this recipe. Hope you like it.

 

Ingredients (Serving for 4):

350g Kangaroo mince (or any meat you like, such as beef or pork mince)

1 clove of Garlic – minced

1cm cubes of Ginger – minced

1 Red eye Chili (or as many as you like) – minced

1 Onion – diced

1 Zucchini – diced

½ Red Capsicum – diced

200g Daikon Radish – about 10cm long – diced

200g Silken Tofu – cut into about 2cm cubes

1 Teaspoon of Corn Starch or Potato Starch

½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

2 Spring Onions – finely chopped

 

Sauce A – combined all together

1 Tablespoon of Miso

½ Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

½ Tablespoon of Sugar

½ Teaspoon of Chili Powder

 

Sauce B – combined all together

150ml Water

1.5 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

1 Tablespoon of Miso

 

Method:

  1. In a frying pan, heat a small amount of oil (not included in the ingredients’ list above) on medium/high heat. Stir- fry kangaroo mince, garlic, ginger and red eye chilli, while breaking up the mince with a spatula or wooden spoon. In order to bring the kangaroo’s best flavour, please stir fry it very well. When the mince starts becoming brown, oil from the mince will come out. Even though the mince has become brown and looks cooked, please keep cooking until the oil has disappeared.
  2. Add Sauce A and cook all together for about 1 minute or until the mince is well coated by the sauce. If the sauce starts burning in the frying pan, add s splash of water to it (not included in the ingredients’ list above).
  3. Add onion, zucchini, capsicum and daikon radish to the frying pan. Stir fry them for about 2 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent.
  4. Add Sauce B to the frying and and bring it to the boil.
  5. Place the tofu into the frying pan. Stir and cook the tofu gently in the sauce. Please work gently not to break down the tofu. Simmer it for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Take 3 tablespoons of the sauce out from the frying pan to a small bowl. Add corn starch to the bowl and whisk it until the corn starch has completely dissolved. Add the mixture back to the frying pan and mix it into the sauce gently. Cook it for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce becomes thickened. Turn the heat off and add sesame oil.
  7. Top with spring onions and serve while hot. You can serve it on your choice of rice.

 

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GyozaRoo – Kangaroo Mince Gyoza

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One of the ingredients that is frequently on our shopping list is Kangaroo Mince. Apparently, there are many right reasons to eat kangaroo meat – low fat, low price, low impact to the environment etc…. However, since I am not a scientist, I really cannot say what is right or wrong. I just like to eat something fresh, healthy, tasty and seasonal that is reasonably priced. In my opinion, kangaroo meat appears “right”. I often use kangaroo mince as it is versatile and very easy to cook. The bonus is it is very reasonable- $9ish per kilo!

I have been curious if kangaroo meat works in Japanese cuisine. In this gyoza recipe, I have alternated pork mince to kangaroo. This makes gyoza light and less fatty. I spice the mince up with garam masala, garlic and ginger and it creates a nice flavour. Vegetables make the gyoza juicy and sweet. I think it works.

 

Ingredients: (about 50 Gyoza, serving 4 people, using 26cm frying pan)

50 Gyoza Wrappers (or they may be called Dumpling Wrapper. These can be purchased at most of Asian stores.)

1 Tablespoon of Oil for frying each batch of gyoza

100ml of Hoy Water for frying each batch of gyoza

Filling

130g kangaroo Mince

250g Cabbage leaves (about 3-4 leaves) – finely chopped

100g Bean Sprouts

3 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms -soak them in water for about 10 minutes to reconstitute, then chopped them finely.

Seasonings

1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

½ Teaspoon of Garam Masala

2 cloves of Garlic – grated

1.5 cm cube of Ginger – grated

Dipping Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of White Vinegar

1 small amount of grounded Chili (optional)

 

Method:

  1. Place kangaroo mince and seasonings in a large bowl. Mix them by hand until the mixture become sticky.
  2. Add cabbage, bean sprouts and shiitake mushrooms to the meat mixture. Combine them all together. You can break the bean sprouts while you are combining them (so that you do not need to chop them up!). This has to be done quickly to avoid water coming out from the vegetables.
  3. Now wrap the filling with gyoza wrappers. Place a gyoza wrapper on your palm and pit 1 teaspoonful of the filling in the centre of the wrapper. Apply a small amount of water on top half of the edge of the wrapper with your finger. This works as glue. Fold the wrapper in half over the filling. Using the thumb and index finger of your other hand, start folding the wrapper from right to left while making pleats. Repeat this process to make 50 gyoza.
  4. Now we pan-fry the gyoza. Heat a small amount of oil (not included in the ingredients’ list above) in a flat bottomed frying pan on high (I use a 26cm frying-pan). Once the pan gets really hot, turn the heat down to medium. Place the gyoza in a single layer in the frying pan and pan-fry them for a minute. You can probably place about 25 gyoza in the 26cm frying pan.
  5. Gently add hot water to the frying pan and put a lid on it immediately. Keep cooking them for 3 minutes or until most of water evaporates.
  6. Remove the lid. Make sure there is no liquid left in the pan. If nay, cook them over high heat without the lid until the remaining water evaporates. Pour oil into the pan (not over the gyoza) and pan fry the gyoza for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom of the gyoza becomes golden and crispy.
  7. Transfer the gyoza to a serving plate. For dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients. Serve gyoza while they are hot with the dipping sauce.