Monday, September 03, 2012

Recipe: Not exactly mapo-tofu

This is inspired by mapo-tofu but ends up quite different, it's got more meat and less fire. It's really easy to cook (because I use sauces from a jar) and my kids love it.

It take about 5 mins to prepare and maybe 20 mins to cook and with rice is enough for 3 people.

Instead of rice you can also serve this with soupy noodles, just not too soupy or you lose all the meat into the depths of the soup.


You will need:

  • 600g of firm tofu (if you're in Japan, that the one with "もめん" written on it)
  • 300g of minced pork
  • Lee Kum Kee Chill Garlic Sauce
  • Lee Kum Kee Black Bean and Garlic Sauce
  • 1 spring onion
  • 300ml of chicken stock
  • cooking oil
  • (optional) ground sichuan pepper (or sansho in Japan)

Lee Kum Kee sauces seem to be all over the world, except Japan where they're actually hard to find, even in Chinese markets. I got mine in the basement market in Ameyoko in Ueno.


  1. Chop the tofu into cubes about 1-2cm on each side. Leave that in a for now.
  2. Put some oil in a frying pan or pot (you'll need a frying pan with high side, a wok would be even better). Get it hot enough for frying.
  3. Fry the mince until it's brown.
  4. Make a hole in the middle of the mince and in one table-spoon of chilli sauce (more if you like spicy) and one of the black bean sauce and then mix them right through the mince. It should take about a minute to get the mince fully coated in sauce.
  5. Check the tofu. The bowl probably has lots of water in it now that drained out of the tofu, pour that out.
  6. Add the tofu cubes and mix them around so that they are covered in meat and sauce.
  7. Add the chicken stock.
  8. Turn down the heat and let the whole thing simmer for 10-15m. At the end, there should not be much stock left. Give it a stir every few minutes to stop things sticking.
  9. While it's simmering, slice up the spring onion thinly.
  10. Serve either sprinkled with the spring onion and the sichuan pepper or let everyone add it to their own portions.

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