Mypo Dofu

It’s not mapo dofu. And it’s not yourpo dofu. It’ mypo dofu. Completely inauthentic, but still pretty darned spicy and tasty.

Sautee a bunch of onions, or whatever other veggie you love (for me it’s onions).

Toss in some minced beef (or maybe it was lamb. Probably lamb).

Cook until browned, then realize you have absolutely no hot bean paste of any kind, and toss in some Thai chili and garlic paste and stir around for a few mintues.
This is the kind I really like and usually have on hand: “Ground Chili & Garlic in Oil“. It’s under $3 per 8 oz jar at any of the Asian markets in the area. Different kind of heat than Sriracha. Seems warmer and more in the back of the mouth/tongue than Sriracha.

A little blop of oyster sauce (left) and garlic & black bean sauce (right). Let everything cook together for a minute or two.

Then crank the heat up and add some chicken broth.

Once that’s hot and toasty, toss in some pressed, cubed tofu. Seriously, drain the tofu and pull as much liquid out of there as you can. Albany John likes wrapping a block in a tea towel and letting it sit in the fridge overnight. Pulls a lot out, and doesn’t make a mess.

I remember trying to like tofu when I was a teenager because I thought it was healthy, and because I’m Chinese, and DUH, all Chinese people HAVE to love tofu, right? But living in Texas, all I had access to were the vacu-sealed boxes of silken tofu that I ate unpressed. Needless to say, it took a while for me to come around to the idea that tofu actually is tasty, and not just some kind of joke played on us by the Chinese and vegetarians.

But yeah, pressing out the liquid really lets it become a sponge that absorbs other flavors. Otherwise you get chunks of chalkiness. And who likes that?

However, Albany John and I did have some ma la peppers. Sichuan peppercorns. Numbing berries of pepper. I crushed up a bunch. HAHA. Thwack with the broad side of the cleaver. Thwack, thwack!
Toss in some cornstarch mixed with liquid to thicken it all up.

Looks close enough to me. Could have used some of that hot soy bean paste. The heat really mellowed out the next day. But overall the tofu didn’t just taste like chalky, bland tofu, so I was happy with my ghetto mypo dofu.
  1. Maybe that's why I don't care for tofu….too much moisture

  2. Funny, Mrs. Fussy and I were at ALA last night and had their mapo tofu. Tasty stuff, but paled in comparison to the crispy fish with seaweed and the XLB.

    It did serve as a nice contrast of flavor and texture to the rest of the meal, and was warming and comforting on a cold dreary night.

  3. Mr.Dave said:

    I am a big Mapo Tofu fan. I have made it a few times at home with some success using Amoy Mapo Tofu sauce which you can get at the new Asian market on Central.

    It definitely doesn't come out tasting super authentic or anything, more along the lines of a standard Chinese delivery version. Which is pretty much what I am in the mood for sometimes.

    Also, the Cooking with Dog video is a pretty good step by step too.

  4. I have been trying to find sichuan peppercorns everywhere! Where can you get them?

  5. Nothing tastes better than improving from the pantry. It looks awesome.

    I vote extra firm tofu, which seems to do the trick without being crushed, as long as I marinate or fry before adding it. I am I completely off the authentic mark on that one?

  6. p – Tofu fried is a whole other story. That stuff is awesome. And not greasy like one would think.

    Dan. -Oh I need to get that crispy fish.

    Mr. Dave – I'll look for that the next time I'm there, thanks! Haha, gotta love the video, too.

    acridian13 – Dan's right with Penzey's, but I've found them in baggies for a few bucks (or less). Sometimes they're called “Prickly Ash”. I think that's what my bag says, but it's the same thing.

    Leah – who cares about authenticity when you've got something you like eating? Haha, all that matters is good flavor.

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