The Recipes

Mapo Tofu

Now, for all of you carnivores, don't panic!  This dish is made with slow-cooked pork shoulder as well as the tofu.  Yes... they can be mixed!  This dish takes some time, including brining the pork shoulder overnight, but the flavors it develops are amazing.  You also have the option to do the slow-cooking portion all day in a slow cooker (8 hours on low while you're at work, or 4 on high).  This will also definitely leave you with some leftovers.

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Mapo Tofu

Ingredients:

- 1 chili de arbol

- 1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted

- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

- 1 T. sugar

- 1 T. tomato paste

- 1 c. chicken stock

- 1 clove

- 1/2 c. sake

- 2 T. soy sauce

- handful of cilantro, chopped

- 1 scallion, chopped

- 1 T. grated ginger

- 1 garlic clove, minced

- 4-6 oz. pork shoulder, cut into bite-size pieces

- 1/5 of a container of extra-firm tofu

- 1/2 c. white rice, cooked to package instructions

- salt

- pepper

- blended oil

The day before you want to serve, combine the tomato paste with 1 T. of oil in a pot.  Stir to wake it up for a minute or two; until it becomes fragrant.  Add in the stock, sake, garlic and 1 T. of the soy sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Cool completely and transfer to a plastic bag with the pork.  Refrigerate overnight.

If you want to shorten your cooking time tomorrow, place the slab of tofu between clean paper towels or kitchen towels and place a heavy pan on top.  Let drain overnight.  You can also make the rice now and reheat it tomorrow.

Remove the stem from the dried chili.  Using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, grind the pepper, clove and cumin seeds.  Add in the cinnamon and sugar and season with salt and pepper.

The day you are serving, remove the pork from the marinade.  Heat 1-2 T. of blended oil in a large pot.  Season the pork with half of the spice blend.  Add the pork and let it brown on all sides; approximately 8 minutes.  Add the marinade,  and remaining T. of soy sauce to the pot and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces.  Heat 1 T. of oil in a small skillet.  Season the tofu with the remaining seasoning and add it to the oil, letting it crisp for 4-5 minutes.  Add it to the pot and let it simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 more minutes to heat the tofu through.

Spoon rice onto a plate and top with the pork and tofu stew.  Top with the cilantro and scallions.