MUSHROOM MAPO TOFU
When you order mapo tofu at Sichuan restaurants, you’ll get a dish largely composed of ground meat or chicken basking in an oyster sauce-based broth. A mighty tasty and comforting dish but not friendly for non-meat eaters and those who are trying to avoid un-natural ingredients (read: the ingredients on a bottle of oyster sauce).
The other night, my husband requested an “Asian dish.” I could have gone a number of directions but my mind raced to something comforting and not super complex. I somehow landed on mapo tofu .
The biggest challenge is recreating the broth. The other ingredients – tofu (easy) + mushrooms (easy and takes the place of meat/chicken) – are a breeze. It’s that sauce… I basically thought about what the sauce means to me, and I came up with tangy, spicy, mostly savory with hints of sweet lingering in the background. Oh, and the oyster extract. Hm.
Then it hit me. Bonito flakes! By adding just a little bit of bonito flakes, I can essentially recreate that subtle “oyster-y” sensation. Success.
The result is a much lighter, healthier, silkier mapo tofu but still true to the original concept and über comforting.
- Organic Soft Tofu (12 oz)
- Japanese Mushrooms (Large Handful)
- Ginger (1-inch knob)
- Scallions (3)
- Garlic Clove (1)
- Sweet Green Peas (1/2 cup)
- Soy Sauce (2 tbsp)
- Sake (1/4 cup)
- Organic Ketchup (2 tbsp)
- Miso Paste (2 tbsp)
- Bonito Flakes (2 tbsp)
- Togarashi (1 tsp)
- Sesame Oil
- White Pepper
- Drizzle the sesame oil into a wok.
- Peel and grate the ginger. Add to the sesame oil. Turn the heat on a low simmer.
- Chop up the scallions, thinly slice up the garlic and add to the oil as well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sake, ketchup, miso paste, bonito flakes, and togarashi until well combined.
- Rinse the Japanese mushrooms and set aside.
- Cube up the tofu and set aside.
- Raise the heat on your wok to medium-high. Add half of the whisked sauce.
- Add the mushrooms and toss with the wok ingredients.
- Add the tofu to the wok and continue toss. Use a slotted spoon to gently break up the tofu.
- Add the sweet green peas, pour in the rest of the sauce and continue stirring. Season with white pepper. Serve alone or with a side of brown rice.