Mapo Tofu Recipe – Pai’s Kitchen – Chinese Recipe

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hey everyone and welcome to Pai’s Kitchen, today I am making one of my favorite
Chinese dishes ever and turns out it’s
Adams favorite Chinese dish as well I am
talking about Mapo tofu soft tofu in a
rich flavorful meat sauce that’s spicy
with a touch of numbness it’s a
specialty of Sichuan cuisine and it’s
super easy to make but there are a few
ingredients that you have to get to know
but it’s nothing difficult and most of
these are widely available at Asian
grocery stores so let’s get started I’m
gonna go over some key ingredients real
quick first and most importantly Sichuan peppercorns so these are
responsible for the numbing sensation
that I was referring to earlier so
numbness on your tongue is a unique
characteristic of Sichaun cuisine that they’re
very proud of it’s becoming really
popular in Thailand now too there are
two types of Sichuan peppercorns one is
green and the other one is red you can
use either for this I personally prefer
the red I find the flavor is a little
bit more citrusy equally important is
this thing right here this is broad bean
paste that’s spicy which I think in
Cantonese is pronounced douban jiang
this is the only brand that I can get in
my grocery store but there are other
brands out there as well you don’t have
to use this brand this is salty spicy
it’s got a fermented miso-esque flavor
absolutely delicious and a must-have in
this dish this next one I really like it
in this dish but it is optional this is
fermented black beans which are actually
soy beans and it’s called douci in
Cantonese I just gave them a quick rinse
and roughly chopped them you can find
them in bags like this ok and they’ll
come like whole beans just like that
finally I want to talk about the tofu
real quick for this you want something
soft and silky but the super soft one I
find too soft and it will fall apart
easily in your dish so this one I think
is perfect at my store they call this
smooth tofu sometimes it’s called
traditional tofu and it’s got just the
perfect amount of
sort of smoothness softness and it’s you
know it’s got just the right amount of
wobbliness it’s not gonna fall apart if
you poke at it but it’s got a little bit
of jiggle that’s what you’re going for
okay so I’ve toasted my Sichuan peppercorns
I’m just gonna give it a grind in my
mortar and pestle here there we go
you’re gonna still kind of get little
flakes but don’t worry about that as
long as there are no big lumps you’ll be
fine
I’m gonna start by sauteing my ground
beef so I’m using ground beef but you
can use ground pork not adding any oil
because I do want to render out the fat
from the beef Oh I’m also gonna season
my beef I almost forgot with some soy
sauce just want to break it up let it do
its thing and even though you’re beef is
done make sure you allow the liquid to
evaporate because you want the meat to
brown a little bit develop some flavor
and it won’t do that as long as you’ve
got some liquid still and that looks
good to me
you’ve got some browning going on I’m
gonna turn this off and I’ll just set
this aside for now and as you can see I
don’t actually have too much fat in
there which means I’m gonna have to add
a little bit of oil but I always like to
do this first just sometimes your beef
isn’t that lean and you actually end up
get enough fat that you don’t need to
add any more all right so now the fun
begins I’m gonna add a little more oil
so I have enough to saute my herbs going
in now with some ginger and garlic
finely finely chopped there we go
scraping up any brown bits stuck to the
bottom my garlic is soft and starting to
brown a little bit I’m gonna add my dry
spices so I’ve got some black pepper,
black pepper and beef I mean so good
together, the Sichuan peppercorns, but I’m
only gonna add half and then I’ll leave
the other half for sprinkling on
top and it’s also wise to do this if
you’re serving guests because some
people find the numbness
really disconcerting and they don’t like
it so I like to keep this mild and then
leave the the people to decide whether
they want more or not
my douci goes in
and chili bean paste couple tablespoons
of that give that a quick saute just to
get everything all infused together Oh
smells amazing! deglazing with some
stock this is unsalted either pork or
chicken stock you can also just do water
in this case I find it’s such a
flavorful dish that even if you did use
water it’s fine, of course it’s always
better with stock very nice this is
optional but I’m adding some Chinese
cooking wine because I happen to have it
and I think it adds an extra layer of
complexity if you don’t have it don’t
worry about it, and to balance all the
saltiness we just added, some sugar
the beef going back in now I like to let
this simmer for another five minutes or
so to allow the flavor to really mingle
and marry so the beef absorbs some of
the flavor from the sauce
and the sauce gets some beefiness.
check this out that looks so flavorful
now it’s a little thin right now so I am
going to add some cornstarch slurry so
I’ve just mixed a tablespoon of
cornstarch with some water and we’re
gonna add just half at a time and just
see where I’m at and you want to be
stirring as you add otherwise you get a
big clump and you want to bring it back
to a boil before you judge its
consistency because the cornstarch won’t
reach its full thickening potential
until it’s boiling you don’t want it
overly thick but you do want it to
have some body to it to hold on to the
tofu maybe a splash more now that looks
good mmm
just give it a taste for seasoning you
want to do this before you add your tofu
because once you add your tofu you don’t
want to be stirring it like adding
things stirring it because the tofu’s
gonna fall apart so you want to do all
your adjustment right now
oh that’s good Wow coincidentally I
think the saltiness and the sweetness is
just exactly where I need it to be but
if you find that you need to have a
little more soy sauce that would be
totally normal
it just depends on how far you’ve
reduced the sauce and so on and so forth
so now the tofu goes in so I’ve just cut
it into big cubes and just slide
everybody in I’m just gonna gently nudge
them so they’re sitting in the sauce
give this a jiggle there we go and then
I want to let this simmer for another
few minutes to give the tofu time to
absorb some of that flavor and then
we’re done how easy is that
so to finish this off as an option you
can drizzle some chili oil
it makes it look nicer but also I think
it could also use a little extra
spiciness but if you find it already
spicy enough you can skip this yes and
chili oil you can buy or you can make I
will include instructions on how to make
your own chili oil in the written recipe
some green onions for some freshness and
greenery oh yes as an option you can use
some of that Sichuan peppercorns that
we saved to do a final garnish and that
is it how beautiful is that now all you
need is some hot white rice and you’re
good to go oh yes look at that now make
sure you open up the tofu and let it air
out a little bit because hot tofu burns
your mouth like crazy and this happens
to me so many times already
it’s such a flavor explosion it’s salty
spicy the numbing by the way doesn’t hit
you until after a little bit but what I
love about this dish is all that
flavorful meatiness gets mixed with the
creamy tofu that breaks apart in your
mouth and it’s just the perfect texture
and once you gather all the ingredients
it’s so easy to put together it lasts a
long time you can take it to work
tomorrow for lunch I mean your kids will
love it if you make it a little less
spicy it is just an all-around terrific
dish so I hope you give this a try and
when you make it send me a photo on
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