Ma Po Tofu

 

Last night, I learned two things:

1) I actually liked a dish with tofu!  So did my daughter and boyfriend!

2) It is extremely difficult, actually, damn near impossible to mince pork belly with my meat grinder.

That said, this turned out to be an amazing dish!  I had seen it many times on restaurant menus, but had always forgone ordering it due to my aversion to tofu.  You see, tofu to me, is akin to plastic nothingness.  I never got on the band wagon, and now I realize, that to truly enjoy this Asian/vegetarian staple, you have to cook it with something, so it can marinate and soak up all the flavours of whatever you are making.

I had recently seen a pretty good blog post from a fellow blogger, called Mrs. Chen: Old crone, pockmarked-face, tofu legend.  The description of the legend of this dish intrigued me, and his photos made me keen to try it.  So I did!  And I am soooo happy I did.  I absolutely loved it!  The sauce was just incredibly flavourful, chock full of garlic, spring onion, Sichuan pepper and chilies!

I did have a little bit of a problem though, we do have a couple of Asian markets here, so I made one variation to the sauce from the original recipe, I could find hot bean paste.  So, I added garlic black bean paste, and a tsp of this red chili paste/oil/madness to it.  I am assuming that this made up for the lack of it, and also gave it an extra garlicky umph!

So, thank you Andy, for pushing me to make this.  We will definitely make it again, and it has motivated me to try more dishes that include tofu!

You can find the original recipe here.

From my (via Andy’s) kitchen to yours,

Carla