Tofu with Spicy Meat Sauce
- SERVINGS: 4
This simple, updated version of the classic Sichuan dish ma po tofu from cookbook author Joyce Jue, which appeared in F&W in March 2002, is the tastiest tofu recipe we've come across. It even makes converts of people who turn their nose up at tofu.
- 1/4 cup small tree ear mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry or rice wine
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon Chinese chili-bean sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 6 fresh water chestnuts, chopped
- 4 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1 pound firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
- In a small bowl, cover the tree ears with water and let soak for 15 minutes; drain and coarsely chop.
- In a medium bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce with the sherry, sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch. Stir in the pork. In a small bowl, mix the remaining cornstarch with the water.
- In a wok, heat the oil until smoking. Add the chili-bean sauce, garlic and ginger and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the water chestnuts and chopped tree ears and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the pork and stir-fry for 2 minutes, breaking up any large clumps. Stir in the scallions, sugar and white pepper. Gently stir in the tofu, broth, peas and the remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce thickens, about 15 seconds. Transfer to a platter and serve.
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