Today I present a tofu dish, another Japanese dish brought over from China and Japanified. Mabodofu (dofu = tofu) is a common meal at home and in Chinese restaurants. According to legend (and Wikipedia), a Japanese chef made mabodofu popular at the first Sichuanese restaurant in Tokyo in the 1950s. In China, it's made with spicy chili bean paste. In Japan, the recipe was modified for the milder Japanese palette. It's so common now in Japan, you can buy the Hamburger Helper equivalent in a grocery store (which is pretty good). It is one of the few dishes that our youngest will pick over noodles, which is a startling revelation if you knew her.
|See all the meat? If you're vegetarian, |
use a ground Bocca Burger type product
Listen, my family likes tofu, but I was raised in a Midwestern farm town where we ate meat every day. If you offered me a choice between grilled steak and grilled tofu, I would choose the steak. I am not here to convince you to hang out in the tofu aisles of Whole Foods. Mabodofu is not even a vegetarian dish, generally it includes ground pork (although you can use ground beef or other ground meats). It has a rich gravy, which gives the tofu a savory flavor. And you use firm tofu which has enough bite and texture that it feels creamy without being squishy.
Believe me, I do not like squishy.
|A Mabodofu mix |
bought in an Asain grocery
in the U.S.
I know. 10 minutes. I'd double the recipe for an American family, though. It will cost you about $6 for two packages.
|I cut & drain my tofu, but notice|
my lack of style. No squeezing necessary.
Go here for the JustBento.com recipe for Mabodofu.
|Miso paste from U.S. Asian|
I would NOT use a tablespoon of cayenne pepper unless you are a heat freak. I used a dash, which is plenty for my family's timid tastebuds. Sichuan Mabo Tofu is spicy, so let your tastebuds make your decision.