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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Hot and Sour Soup with Salmon

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My version of Chinese Hot and Sour Soup. It might be an old remedy, but, I somehow believe in Ginger and Garlic to beat a cold. I like cooking this soup when my family is not feeling 100% in the cold winter.

While I use Salmon in this recipe, you can use a different protein instead (I reckon Chicken works very well). You can also use any vegetables in your fridge too.

One thing I recommend not to remove is Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, since Shiitake stock adds the rich flavour into the soup. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

 

Ingredients (Serve for 3-4 people)

For Broth

500ml Chicken Stock

500ml Soaking Liquid of Dried Shiitake Mushrooms – see “For other ingredients” and Method 1 below

1.5 Tablespoons of Light Soy Sauce

A pinch of Sea Salt

2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar

3 Teaspoons of Corn Starch

½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

For Salmon

180 – 200g Salmon Fillet – skin removed, chopped into small bite size pieces

1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Cooking Sake

For Other Ingredients

25g Dried Shiitake Mushrooms + 500ml of Water to reconstitute them – keep the soaking liquid

1 Onion –sliced

1 Carrot – cut into long sticks

1/6 Chinese cabbage – cut into small bite size pieces

1 Green Capsicum – sliced

1 or 2 bird eye red Chili (depends on your liking) – finely chopped

2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped

10g Ginger – finely sliced

80g Dried Potato Noodles (“Malony” in Japanese, you can use Glass Noodles instead)

10 Green Beans – ends trimmed and cut to the same length as the sliced green capsicum

5 florets of Broccoli – separate into smaller florets

1 Egg

 

Method:

  1. Preparation of Dried Shiitake Mushrooms. Rinse the Shiitake. Soak them in 500ml of water to reconstitute. This will table about 10-15 minutes. If you are in a hurry, use warm water instead of cold water. Once they are reconstituted, slice them finely. Keep the soaking liquid.
  2. Preparation of Salmon. Cut and place the Salmon into a small bowl. Marinade the Salmon with Soy Sauce and Cooking Sake. Put it aside.
  3. In a large pot, put Shiitake, Onion, Carrot, Chinese cabbage, green Capsicum, Red Chili, Garlic and Ginger with Chicken Stock and the Shiitake Soaking Liquid. Bring it to a boil. Turn heat to low/medium and simmer it for 15 minutes with a lid on.
  4. Add Light Soy Sauce and a pinch of Salt. Simmer it for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Add Dried Potato Noodles, Green Beans, Broccoli and the Salmon including the marinade to the pot. Put the lid back on and keep simmering for 10 minutes.
  6. Add White Vinegar and stir gently.
  7. Take 2 ladles of the broth out from the pot to a bowl. Add Corn starch to the bowl and whisk it until the Corn Starch is completely dissolved. Add the mixture to the pot and mix it into the soup gently. Add Sesame Oil.
  8. Beat an egg and pour it over the surface of the soup. Turn a heat off. Put the lid on and let it sit for 10 seconds. Serve while it is hot.