Posted on | December 8, 2008 | No Comments
Ma Po Dou Fu (麻婆豆腐) is a very popular Tofu (Soft Bean Curd) dish that originated from Sichuan Province in China.
There are a couple of versions of the story of how this dish was created and became popular, but all versions of the stories tend to have “Old Pockmarked Mother Chen” as the lead star, or creator of the dish.
There are many versions of this popular dish to be found worldwide, and locally here in Singapore. Unfortunately, many of these versions are not in any way close to the original, except the common ingredients of tofu, minced meat, and some sort of sauce in different levels of spiciness.
Here is the Ma Po Dou Fu recipe that I use. It is lightly adapted from ‘the real thing’, as taught at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine in Chengdu, China.
Ma Po Dou Fu (麻婆豆腐)
500g beancurd (soft is better, if not use silken)
4 baby leeks or 2 leeks
30ml peanut oil
100g ground beef
11/2 tbsp Sichuan chilli broad bean paste (dou ban jiang)
1 tbsp fermented black beans (or fermented black bean paste)
1 tbsp Sichuan chilli paste (up to 1 tbsp more if you want it more fiery)
100ml chicken stock
1 tsp sugar
dash of light soya sauce (may be omitted)
salt to taste (may be omitted)
cornstarch or potato starch mixed with cold water for thickening (I prefer potato starch)
1/2 tsp roasted Sichuan pepper (hua jiao)
1 stalk spring onion
1. Cut beancurd into 1-inch cubes and steep in salted hot water. Cut leek into thin slices. Cut spring onion into fine slivers.
2. Season wok, add peanut oil and heat over a high flame until smoking. Add minced beef and stir-fry until crispy and a little brown, but not yet dry.
3. Remove the minced beef and put on paper towel to absorb oil.
4. Turn the heat down to medium, add the chilli bean paste and stir-fry for about a minute, until the oil is a rich red colour. Add the fermented black beans and chilli paste and stir-fry for another 30 seconds until the mixture is
fragrant and the oil is nice and red.
5. Add the drained beancurd and stock. Mix in gently by pushing the back of your ladle or wok scoop from the centre of the wok – do not stir or the beancurd will break up. Season with sugar, a dash of light soy sauce and salt to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the beancurd has absorbed the flavours of the sauce.
6. Add the leek and half the minced beef and gently mix in. When the leek is just cooked, add the cornstarch (or potato starch) mixture in two or three stages, mixing well, until the sauce has thickened enough to cling glossily to the meat and beancurd.
7. Finally, pour everything into a deep bowl, scatter with the remaining ground beef, Sichuan pepper and fine slivers of spring onions.
PS: This recipe can be adapted for vegetarian use by omitting the ground beef and chicken stock.
ENJOY…!!!Copyright © MM - MMXII Daniel CHIA. All rights reserved.