Mapo Tofu, or Pock-marked Mother Chen’s beancurd
In Sichuan Cookery, Mrs Fuschia Dunlop writes the following about this wonderful dish.
“Ma po dou fu is named after the smallpox-scarred wife of a Qing Dynasty restaurateur. She is said to have prepared this spicy, aromatic, oily dish for labourers who laid down their loads of cooking oil to eat lunch on their way to the city’s market. It’s one of the most famous Sichuan dishes, and epitomizes Sichuan’s culinary culture, with its fiery peasant cooking and bustling private restaurants”
I love mapo tofu, it is by far one of my most favourite meals. There are a few key ingredients to this dish.
The tofu, it shold not be too soft or too hard. Actually, the one I used, was a bit too hard but it worked out fine. Where I currenyly live, God do not bless this place, there is only one variety to be found so I had not option. Anyway, the first step is to cut the tofu into chunks and boil it for a few minutes in salted water.
Normal white refined sugar, beef cut into thin and short slices, spring onions and Sichuanese chili bean paste. There are a variety of these around, however, try to find one that says Pixian Dou Ban and is from Sichuan. It took me about 1 year to do so in Stockholm, good luck hunting!
On the plate you have ground Sichuanese chillies (no other variety really works), black fermented beans and roasted Sichuan pepper. The chili paste is also pictured here.
Start of with heating about half a cup of oil until it turns extremely hot. Then add the beef and let it fry for a couple of minutes until it crispy and a little brown.
Turn the heat to medium and add the chili bean paste, fry for about 30 seconds and the oil turns red.
Add the black fermented beans and ground chillies.
Pour in some stock and add the tofu. Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the spring onions, Sichuan pepper, sugar, some light soy sauce, salt to taste.
Finally, add a mix of potato flour and water to the dish and push around gently so that the tofu gets covered.
Mapo tofu is easy to make, however, you need all the authentic ingredients or you will not be able to produce a good version of it at home. I love mapo tofu! Enjoy bitches!