The generally accepted western taxonomy is that it’s from the slaying of beasties that comes the protein and from plants comes things other. Did you know that Genesis and the whole garden of Eden thing was whinge in metaphor (and if you thought it was all true, well I’m sorry) for the replacement of the life of hunting for the agricultural one? Yeah thanks a frick’n lot ladies. Sometimes it gets me in such a funk that not even my 18″ pepper grinder can cheer me up. Heaping ambiguity upon indignity was tofu. Tofu is all gathery yet proteiny. The result was to treat it as an unsatisfactory and frowned upon alternative to the real thing [see hands, sins of]. And, where’s this going? Ahm look dudes it’s OK because beef and tofu can be friends.
Mabo tofu or “spicy tofu” is a Japanese Chinese fave and is usually not spicey at all with more efforts usually going towards getting the saice all gelatinous. In short, it is spag bol on tofu.
Tofu tends to have a tenuous grasp on it’s own constitution and will scramble if not properly firmed up. The first thing you should do is sit it on a slightly inclined chopping board with another weighted chopping board on top to remove extra moisture. You can then blanch it for a minute or, as I did, pop it in the tucker fucker for 90 seconds. Dice into dice sized dices with a dicer (or a knife).
A very large clove of garlic and a similar amount of ginger finely grated along with a finely chopped chilli and the chopped white ends of several spring onions. Quickly sauteed in peanut oil in a wok to get the flavours going. Mix in 300gm of beef mince that’s had a heaped tablespoon of miso paste, a tablespoon of toubanjan (spicey bean paste), and a tablespoon of sesame oil mixed into it. If you’re not big into the miso just buy a packet of instant, there should be a little tube of miso in there that you can use. For a bit of variety I added some finely chopped bamboo shoot and field mushrooms (shiitake would also be nice). Have a look below and notice that my mise skills have gone to pot (it’s adorable isn’t it? teapot and cup all in one).
Stir fry until cooked and then add a cup of beef stock with a teaspoon of cornstarch or potato starch mixed into it. Add the tofu and heat through while reducing the stock.
Garnish. It’s good. Grrr.
Congrats and thanks to long-timer Reid for being the host of IMBB