Mapo Tofu (Doufu) is a very popular chinese dish originated from the Sichuan province. If you are a person who don’t really care much for diet and love numbing spicy, fiery, oily dish – this one is for you! According to wikipedia, the authentic mapo tofu is usually described by Chinese chefs using these 7 strong flavour profiles : 麻 (numbing), 辣 (spicy hot), 烫 (hot temperature), 鲜 (fresh), 嫩 (tender and soft), 香 (aromatic), and 酥 (flaky).
This is a superb dish to soothe your body in the cold winter’s night but definitely not for dinner parties. The tolerance level for hot spicy numbing dish should be kept to people who are willing to let go of their beauty and ego while eating this dish, LOL. Oh, and get ready a good amount of water on the side too, hahaha.
“The dish is so mind-bottling numb – you have to give it to the Sichuan people! Luckily I can still feel my lips, legs, hands …”
Interestingly, this recipe doesn’t use the traditional tofu. Instead, recipe creator from Sydney, Chef Dan Hong wanted to make an egg custard style tofu (think chawanmushi) where you can just dig in and scoop out all the goodies in 1 big spoonful before popping them in your mouth. I have to say, that silky savoury custard texture is a brilliant, soothing contrast to the numbing, spicy pork mince – absolutely a mind numbing experience.
Ready to numb yourself? Get the recipe now …
Mapo Tofu (adapted from Dan Hong’s Mr Hong)
200g mince pork (preferably with some fat)
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
(Soy Milk Custard ‘Tofu’)
175g whole eggs (3 large eggs or 4 medium eggs), lightly beaten
400ml unsweetened soy milk
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 tbsp red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp Sichuan pepper, ground (omit if you don’t want the numb effect)
2 tbsp chilli bean paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp sugar
50ml chicken stock
splash of Shaoxing wine
1 tsp chilli oil
1 stalk spring onion, thinly chopped for garnish
coriander leaves, for garnish
1. Marinade the pork with soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt. Thoroughly, mix them together and set aside for about 20 mins.
2. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, soy milk and soy sauce together to combine. Next, you can either fill 1 bowl with the egg custard or several smaller bowls – depending on your choice of serving. Whatever way you decide to serve, you need to be sure that the bowl or bowls will be able to fit in your steamer basket or your wok with the lid on.
3. Pour the egg custard into the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or aluminium foil. Ensure that the cover is tight enough so it won’t sag during cooking.
4. I use a wok steamer rack because my bamboo steamer is too small. Fill the wok with water just 1 inch below the rack. Cover the wok with lid and heat the wok until the water is boiling. Put the bowl on top of the rack and turn the fire down to lowest heat to simmer. Cover and let it cook for 20mins or until the custard is set. To test if the custard is ready – lightly touch the surface with your finger and if there’s a bit of bounce but feels firm, that means it’s done. Turn off the heat and set aside. Keep warm by keeping the lid on the bowl.
5. Remove the water from the wok. Heat the wok over high heat. Pour a little bit of vegetable oil and fry the marinated pork mince. Using the spatula, gently break up the pork mince as you stir-fry continuously. Once the pork has turned color to light brown (that is, no more red specks), add ginger, garlic, chilli and Sichuan pepper. Stir fry for about 15 seconds or until fragrant, then add sugar, chilli bean paste, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir and mix well for a further 15 seconds.
6. Add chicken stock and cook until it has reduced to your desired consistency. Turn the heat off and drizzle the Shoaling wine and chilli oil.
7. Gently ladle the cooked pork over the custard. Garnish with chopped spring onions and coriander leaves. Serve with steamed rice.