Mapo Tofu

This is a recipe by Maangchi. If you want to have some fun look her up on the internet and watch some of her excellent videos. She is fun, sweet, and an excellent Korean cook. We had some left-over tofu from making hot and sour soup and tofu does not last very long so we decided to make this. Yes you will need to purchase some special Korean ingredients to make this but it is well worth it. Gochugaru is a Korean hot pepper flake and Gochujang is a hot pepper paste. Both should be kept in the fridge to preserve flavor but will last a long time. Once you are hooked on making Korean food you will use a lot of both and they will go quickly.

When I made this last night, I was timid about adding the spices, fearing it would be too hot. Laura, the heat-seeker, commented that it needed more flavor. I will not make that mistake next time. It was otherwise very delicious. We served it with rice and some pickled mung bean sprouts, which I will provide the recipe for in a subsequent post.

Quick note: keep your sesame oil in the fridge and taste test it before using. I ruined a very laborious batch of hot and sour soup by adding sesame oil that had turned rancid.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (we use avocado oil)
4 garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and minced
8 ounces pork shoulder, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 medium onion (about 1 cup), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 mild green chili peppers (or 1/2 of green bell pepper), chopped (I used one seeded jalapeno)
8 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cup unsalted chicken or beef stock (or vegetable stock)
2 tablespoons hot pepper paste (gochujang )
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 pound tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (we like firm tofu)
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

1. Heat up a large skillet or a wok over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil, garlic, and ginger, stirring with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic turns light brown and crispy and the oil smells fragrant. Push to the side.

2. Add the pork, salt, and ground black pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring with the wooden spoon until the pork turns a little crunchy.

3. Stir in hot pepper flakes for about 30 seconds until it bubbles and smells a little smoky.

4. Add the onion, green chili pepper, and green onion. Stir for 1 minute until the vegetables turn slightly withered.

5. Stir in soy sauce and hot pepper paste.

6. Add 1 cup chicken broth and cook for about 2 minutes until vigorously boiling.

7. Add the tofu cubes and gently mix with a wooden spoon, careful not to break up the tofu. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the tofu turns soft.

8. While the tofu is cooking, combine the rest of the 1/4 cup chicken broth and corn starch in a small bowl and mix it well. Add it to the boiling mapo tofu and gently stir it in with a wooden spoon to thicken the sauce.

9. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

10. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Serve with rice.

 

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