Monday, March 22, 2010

Ma-Po Tofu (Spicy Turkey & Tofu Bowls)

Ma-Po Tofu (otherwise known as "Mabu Dofu" or "Mabu Tofu") is a popular Chinese dish from the Sichuan region. The original recipe takes diced tofu and ground pork and mixes it in a spicy chili-based sauce filled with garlic and ginger tones. For a quick meal, I usually buy this instant version at the Asian supermarket, but when I Googled and found this homemade recipe- I realized how easy it was. I liked that the only oil needed was the minimal amount to cook the ground meat. The original recipe uses ground pork, but I replaced this with 93% lean ground turkey to make it healthier- and let me tell you- the sauce is so flavorful, you won't be able to tell it's lower in fat. Make sure to use FRESH garlic and ginger- the bottled kinds won't taste right in this recipe. Also, instead of the hot bean paste, I opted to use a chili garlic sauce (Tuong Ot Toi Vietnam)- whew! Was this spicy! Next time, I will halve the amount of this. My DB and I loved the taste but were chugging water in between bites of food. This was delicious, fast, and easy, and tasted wonderful with garlic and ginger. Serve this over rice, and you've got a low-fat delicious meal! (My DB doesn't like tofu, so I didn't add it to the dish pictured above, but in my opinion, it tastes fabulous with the tofu.)

Ma-Po Tofu
For the sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp garlic chili paste (I used this)- Darin likes mild so we only use 1/2 tsp
4 Tbsp soy sauce

1 lb extra-firm (not silken) low-fat tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1-2 Tbsp corn, peanut, or canola oil
1-1.25 lb ground turkey (preferably 93% lean)
4 Tbsp plus 2 tsp finely minced garlic
4 Tbsp plus 2 tsp finely minced peeled fresh ginger (6" ginger root) (or can use grated ginger in a tube)
1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp cold water
1-1/2 tsp Japanese sesame oil (I used this)
3-4 Tbsp thinly sliced scallion

Accompaniment: steamed rice

Make sauce
Stir together broth, chili-garlic paste, and soy sauce. Set aside.

Poach tofu (Don't skip this step)
Slide tofu into a saucepan of simmering water and keep at a bare simmer while stir-frying rest of dish.

Stir-fry meat
Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until hot and add the oil, swirling to coat. Add ground turkey and stir-fry, breaking up lumps and adding remaining 1/2 Tbsp corn oil if meat sticks, until no longer pink. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry over moderate heat until very fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Finish stir-fry
Stir reserved sauce, then add to pork and bring to a simmer.
Drain tofu in a large sieve and slide into sauce, stirring gently.
Stir cornstarch mixture and add to stir-fry. Bring to a boil, stirring gently, and cook until thickened and glossy, about 15 seconds.
Turn off heat and sprinkle with sesame oil and 2 Tbsp scallion.
Stir once or twice, then serve sprinkled with remaining scallion.

Source: Adapted from Gourmet


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