Mapo Doufu

If it isn’t obvious yet, serious comfort food for us usually involves something really spicy and filling coupled with a beer. There are going to be a lot of recipes on here that fit that description, and this is one of them.
I have a lot of memories of this dish growing up since it was one of my dad’s favorite things to make. Naturally it was a recipe that I inherited from him and brought with me when I went to college. I made it all through school, afterward, and eventually, for Nate. Since our tastebuds are eerily similar, he likes it almost as much as I do.

I would describe mapo doufu as a gravy. A spicy, meaty, savory gravy.  You simmer pork and tofu together with some black bean paste, soy sauce, and a huge amount of garlic, ginger, and chile paste. Feel free to adjust the chile paste levels, but we have to say that the benefits of a nice chile glow are underrated.

  • 2 tbs. vegetable oil
  • 7 oz. extra firm tofu
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 inch ginger root, finely minced
  • 1 cup broth
  • 2 tbs. black bean paste
  • 1–2 tbs. chile paste
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 tbs. water
  • 2 large green onions, sliced

Heat a wok to high heat, until it starts to smoke. Add the oil and pork and stir until the pork is completely cooked. Move the pork to one side of the wok and add the tofu. Cook until the tofu is golden, then stir to cook other side until they are the same color. Add the garlic and ginger, then mix everything in the wok together. Cook for about 10 seconds, allowing for the garlic and ginger to release their aromas.

Add the black bean paste and chile paste to the wok and stir together. Once incorporated, add the broth and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. While the mapo doufu is simmering, make the cornstarch slurry in a small bowl by adding the cornstarch and water together. Mix it until there are no clumps left, then when the mixture has reduce by about a third, stir in the slurry. It will thicken rapidly, so turn off the heat when you add the cornstarch. After you turn off the heat add almost all of the sliced green onions (leave a few for garnish) and let them wilt. Serve with brown rice, green onion on top, and a drizzle of sesame oil.


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