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hzrt8w

Pictorial: Ma Po Tofu

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Made this today for Easter Dinner and it was wonderful. I did use ground turkey as I found no ground pork in my freezer. Turned out great.

Thanks for sharing your recipe, hzrt8w!

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I made this the other day and seeing as how I had no ground pork in the house, I just threw some pork belly in the food processor and used that. I also changed a few things like using ketchup, gochujang, dwaengjang, mirin, and some gochugaru. it turned out delicious and I will definitely try it again and maybe next time I'll stick with using more chinese ingredients

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I like the gochujang in it. It helps to get the flavour back up to the original burn. I'm counting on my fresh peppercorns to turn the corner on this.

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hm recipe comes out less like my thinking for mapodoufu. I think may be a more guangdong-style of doing something hot and fiery such like sichuan mapodoufu - where it origininates! Actualy Alvis's picture looks like more what you will find in the sichuan restaurants here in China, but more red hot oil! And in Chengdu often you see much huajiao peppers crushed all over the top! VERY HOT

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Here's a couple of my shots from the Ma Po Tofu place across the street from Sichuan University in Chengdu.

gallery_22892_4411_205326.jpg

gallery_22892_4411_6993.jpg

Lots of oil. Think of a tanker crashed on a reef made of tofu.

I'm getting hungry again.

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I made this the other day and seeing as how I had no ground pork in the house, I just threw some pork belly in the food processor and used that.  I also changed a few things like using ketchup, gochujang, dwaengjang, mirin, and some gochugaru.  it turned out delicious and I will definitely try it again and maybe next time I'll stick with using more chinese ingredients

Gochujang in tofu?? Isn't that soo-dobu?

Cheers...

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Hi all....since Szechuan peppercorns aren't available in my neck of the woods, is it worth trying to make the dish without them? Anything that can possibly substitute in?

My block of tofu eagerly awaits your response :smile: .

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Hi all....since Szechuan peppercorns aren't available in my neck of the woods, is it worth trying to make the dish without them? Anything that can possibly substitute in?

My block of tofu eagerly awaits your response  :smile: .

I am sure others will chime in, but from what I understand about Szechuan peppercorns is that their tongue-numbing effect makes them unlike "normal" peppercorns...meaning there's not really a good substitute for them.

This will be too late for your tofu, but szechuan peppercorns can now be ordered online at websites like Penzeys:

Szechuan Peppercorns from Penzey

The government has recently lifted their ban on the peppercorns making them once again available in the US.

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The government has recently lifted their ban on the peppercorns making them once again available in the US.

Every place I've asked, they've said it's an illegal import, even though I too thought the ban was lifted in 2005 (?)

I'm going to Columbus this weekend, so I'm hoping I will be able to make it to the Penzey's there. If not, I suppose I'll have to order more than just Szechuan peppercorns, just to make the shipping costs worthwhile. :wink:

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Hi all....since Szechuan peppercorns aren't available in my neck of the woods, is it worth trying to make the dish without them? Anything that can possibly substitute in?

My block of tofu eagerly awaits your response  :smile: .

Definitely mapo tofu can be made without szechuan peppercorns. I like the numbing but not the flavour, so mine is always made without Szechuan peppercorns. :rolleyes:

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Thanks Dejah! If I do make it to Penzey's I'll have to do a side-by-side comparison :wink: . And if not, I'm glad to know it still turns out well without it! :biggrin:

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Hi all....since Szechuan peppercorns aren't available in my neck of the woods, is it worth trying to make the dish without them? Anything that can possibly substitute in?

You can certainly make "Ma Po Tofu" without the Sichuan peppercorns. I often do. It would be pointed out that it is not authentic Sichuan style. More like a Cantonese rendition of it. :smile: You will not get the numbing sensation.

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huajiao.jpg

The crucial ingredient here. Brick red hua jiao. Floral, numbing, perfect. This hua jiao from Ngoa Hoy in Regina, as good as any hua jiao in a Chinese raw market. I'm glad I didn't go to the potential trouble of smuggling a bag from home.

tofu-1.jpg

Second most important ingredient. Fresh tofu. Firm enough to stand up to the pan and soft enough to soak up flavor and break down just a bit.

Then, you want: pork (not too fatty, not too lean), dried red chilis (chopped up), ginger (chopped to a paste), green onion (sliced up), a bit of fresh green chili (mashed right up, just a little bit). Throw it all in a pan that's full of oil and as hot as you can possibly get it. Stir in some cong ban jiang (no proper bean sauce, since we've only been in Canada a week, but it's salty and pungent enough). Get that mixture as hot as the sun, then tip in your chopped up tofu. Add some liquid, let it cook.

Hua jiao, ground, gets dumped on top as it comes off the heat.

mapo.jpg

There it is. Swimming in deep red oil. Beautiful. Tastes exactly like the last plate of mapo doufu I ate in China (except: too spicy and lacking fermented black beans). It's salty and hot and pungent and has a great floral smell and the tofu is just soft enough.

onrice.jpg

On rice.

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Ma Po Tofu (麻婆豆腐)

Ma Po Tofu is a Sichuan specialty. There are many versions of the Ma Po Tofu recipe. This pictorial is my interpretation of it.

Dedicated to SuzySushi.

======================================

what chili peppers are equivalent to Sichuan chili peppers?

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Hi all....since Szechuan peppercorns aren't available in my neck of the woods, is it worth trying to make the dish without them? Anything that can possibly substitute in?

My block of tofu eagerly awaits your response  :smile: .

Sichuan peppercorns are available on the internet....for a while they were not available in the USA but they are now available.

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I still find most hua jiao you can find in North America has a great, peppery floral aroma but the numbing part just isn't there. I've been able to find a bag or two but it's a lot of work.

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I was happy to see fermented black beans added to the mapo dofu recipe(s). I am very partial to fermented black beans and I ignore the instructions to rinse the them. I also frequently double the amount called for in the recipes and mash half of them and leave the other half whole.

Additionally, I prefer mapo dofu over noodles rather than the traditional rice and, when I do not have Chinese noodles on hand, I use regular spaghetti (al dente) with great results!

Just a note, when my Puerto Rican wife first smelled raw fermented black beans and tasted one, she said she did not like them and would not eat anything with them in it! However, I have added fermented black beans to several non-Chinese dishes and she loved them and she loves my version of mapo dofu which I make very less spicy than I prefer (I add home-made chili oil to my servings!)...on a scale of 1-10 at most Chinese restaurants, I order dishes as spicy 15 :wub: !

The latest non-Chinese dish in which I have used them is homemade baked beans...adds a great new accent.


Edited by dmreed (log)

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I ignore the instructions to rinse the them

Why?

Have you seen the conditions in which they are produced? The advice to rinse them is to get rid of the dust and dirt. You're not going to damage the beans or taste. It is simple food hygiene.

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I ignore the instructions to rinse the them

Why?

Have you seen the conditions in which they are produced? The advice to rinse them is to get rid of the dust and dirt. You're not going to damage the beans or taste. It is simple food hygiene.

Hummmmmm...thanks for the comment. No, I have not seen them made...have you some details?

In the many cookbooks I have read, probably 50-60% suggest rinsing and mashing the beans but none of them said anything about dust and dirt?

The only reason I have seen to rinse them is to get rid of extra salt and to make the taste milder. Have you actually seen dust and dirt in the rinse water? I am not sure that hygiene is an issue, they are not generally eaten raw so any germs would be killed by cooking.

This does pose an interesting question: when eating dried shrimp or other dried snacks directly out of the package for a snack, the shrimp are not washed and I am pretty sure that most shrimp and other snacks are sun dried out in the open. Is hygiene an issue for dried food snacks in general?

Again, thanks for your comments and concerns. Does anyone else have anything to add regarding rinsing the beans?


Edited by dmreed (log)

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This does pose an interesting question: when eating dried shrimp or other dried snacks directly out of the package for a snack, the shrimp are not washed and I am pretty sure that most shrimp and other snacks are sun dried out in the open. Is hygiene an issue for dried food snacks in general?

Again, thanks for your comments and concerns. Does anyone else have anything to add regarding rinsing the beans?

Rinsing the fermented black beans is a traditional, hand-me-down method. It serves several purposes:

1) As liuzhou mentioned, to rinse off dust or what not.

2) To moisten the black beans a little bit. Depending on the quality of the fermented black beans you get... some of the poorer quality ones (the one that my family could afford back in the old days) are quite dry. The beans should be moisten a little bit, and smashed a little bit to release their full flavor.

3) The most important reason, I think (why they used to do it in the old days)... I don't know about others, when I grew up the fermented black beans bought from the market were full of small rocks. Putting some water into the bowl containing some fermented black beans helps in picking out those small rocks, which were detrimental to children's teeth. And in this day and age you probably don't need to worry about that...

Eating dried shrimp? No I don't water it and just eat as is. If moisten, the flavor would be diluted, which is very different from preparing fermented black beans for cooking.

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This does pose an interesting question: when eating dried shrimp or other dried snacks directly out of the package for a snack, the shrimp are not washed and I am pretty sure that most shrimp and other snacks are sun dried out in the open. Is hygiene an issue for dried food snacks in general?

Again, thanks for your comments and concerns. Does anyone else have anything to add regarding rinsing the beans?

Rinsing the fermented black beans is a traditional, hand-me-down method. It serves several purposes:

1) As liuzhou mentioned, to rinse off dust or what not.

2) To moisten the black beans a little bit. Depending on the quality of the fermented black beans you get... some of the poorer quality ones (the one that my family could afford back in the old days) are quite dry. The beans should be moisten a little bit, and smashed a little bit to release their full flavor.

3) The most important reason, I think (why they used to do it in the old days)... I don't know about others, when I grew up the fermented black beans bought from the market were full of small rocks. Putting some water into the bowl containing some fermented black beans helps in picking out those small rocks, which were detrimental to children's teeth. And in this day and age you probably don't need to worry about that...

Eating dried shrimp? No I don't water it and just eat as is. If moisten, the flavor would be diluted, which is very different from preparing fermented black beans for cooking.

Thanks. As usual, you have a great perspective. Apparently tradition still seems to govern much of what and how we eat (thanks goodness for tradition!). I have not found any small rocks in the brand I use (Yang Jiang Preserved Beans) and I measure them by dumping some out of the storage jar into the palm of my hand. I do use a bit of moisture when mashing them.

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Made Ma Po Tofu for the first time tonight. A wonderful dish, perfect for sub-zero (C not F) Stockholm!

I used Fuchsia Dunlops recipe in Sichuan Cookery. It is much simpler than most recipes described here, but still comes out very flavourful and complex.

No marination of the meat. Only dried red chillies, red chilli bean paste and some black fermented beans as seasoning, then adjusting the final taste with a little sugar, light soy sauce and szechuan pepper.

That was the way she was taught in the state cookery school in Sichuan, so it is probably quite authentic.

I think I lucked out on the chilli bean paste. I bought a new brand (FU CHI, made in Taiwan) which was less salty and much more flavourful than my old (LEE KUM KEE, made in mainland China).


Edited by TheSwede (log)

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Not sure how I missed this post back in July, :shock: but that package of tofu is made by my cousin James Chan in Winnipeg!

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Seeing as the Japanese are also familiar with this dish, how do they make it differently to the Chinese?

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