Mala Tofu - Vegetarian Mapo Tofu

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

food painting for the vegetarian cookbook by Fiona Morgan
Warming. Spiced. Rich. Moreish.


Food painting artwork

30 x 30cm oil on linen. According to Wikipedia: "in contrast to European dragons that are considered evil, Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck." This particular dragon is symbolizing the potency and power of the hot and numbing sichuan pepper integral to this dish. Consider yourself warned!

By the way, all the food painting artwork is available to own in the Official Art Store.


The meatless meals recipe

Mala sauce is a Chinese sauce that is meant to be both numbing and hot. Therefore it uses quite a lot of sichuan pepper. It's a different sensation to Indian chilli dishes which are hot and burning. Still, if hot is not your thing, pass this one by. If hot is your thing, drool over the contrast of smooth silken and crispy crunchy tofus all slathered in this moreish thick numbing hot sauce. When I get a craving for a sichuan flavour, I just can't stop eating this dish.

250g silken tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
125g very firm tofu, cut into tiny cubes
4 tablespoons sesame or peanut oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chili bean or chili garlic sauce (no extra garlic needed if you use chili garlic sauce) please note this is not plain chilli sauce made only of chillis, it is specifically a sauce made with chilli and fermented beans
1 tablespoon blackbean sauce or paste
1 teaspoon sichuan pepper powder
1 cup stock
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce (or at least not heavy soy sauce)
3 spring onions, chopped
2 tablespoons cornflour in 4 tablespoons water

Fill a pot with hot or boiling water. Slide the silken tofu into the water to pre heat it.
Heat half the oil (2 tablespoons) in another pan over high heat.
Add firm tofu and stirfry until crispy.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic and ginger and stirfry until fragrant.
Push everything to one side. Add the rest of the oil, the chili bean paste, blackbean paste and sichuan pepper and stirfry until the oil is very red. 
Pour in the stock, sugar and soy sauce. Stir well.
Carefully drain the warmed silken tofu and slide it into the sauce.
Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the cornflour and water mix to thicken the sauce and push it around gently. Silken tofu breaks very easily so be gentle with your stirring.

When the sauce has thickened, serve on rice topped with the spring onion.

This will serve 2 people with just rice or 3 to 4 with a vegetable side dish.


More vegetarian cookbook goodies

Need help with conversions? Download this handy dandy pdf of cooking conversion charts for every cooking measuring system I could find. It should make your life easier.

Want to check out more vegetarian dinner recipes? They're all in the Table of Contents.

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