Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dinner time on a study night

You know, for me at least, dinner is often a stressful affair. Not the cooking part, I like that. The deciding that to eat part. That part is a pain. I know the other thing you're thinking: what the hell is with Sin and the damned peas? I'm actually a little shocked how much people hate them. I love them.

My husband definitely does NOT like them.

In fact, he hates them. He hates the initial popping feeling they make followed by the gooey mushy feeling that comes afterward. Whatever, his loss not mine :)

Anyways, this recipe is not, by any means, authentic. It's just about as close as I have come to getting it to taste like I remember from my childhood.

Mapo Tofu

What you'll need:
  • 1/2 pound ground meat, preferable lean (Beef, Pork, Turkey, whatever)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp Gin
  • A package of Tofu
  • Splash of Canola oil
  • 1/2 tbsp chili sauce with garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed well, and mashed
  • 1 cup+ Chicken Broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup peas, frozen or fresh
  • Cooked brown rice
What to do:
  1. Drain your tofu, grab 3 paper towels, take 2 of them, fold them up to roughly the size of the tofu block, do the same with the 3rd. Place the first two on a plate, under the block of tofu and place the 3rd one on top. Then, place a heavy plate on top. Let drain for about 30 minutes. You want to get as much moisture out as you can.
  2. Meanwhile, combine your meat with the cornstarch and gin, set aside.
  3. Whisk together the chili sauce, soy sauce, black beans, and chicken broth.
  4. Preheat broiler. Line a heavy duty cookie sheet with some foil, spray with some Pam. 
  5. Slice tofu width wise, then slice each half into 4 equal parts until you get 8 pieces. Place on cookie sheet and spray with a little more Pam. Broil until you get a nice little crust on top. Take it out and let tofu cool off. Cut into little cubes.
  6. Preheat a good sized skillet and heat up the oil.
  7. Once a wisp of smoke appears, add the meat. Cook until well browned making sure to break up any large bits. Don't worry it might stick a little.
  8. Add the garlic and ginger, let cook for another minute.
  9. Grab your chicken stock mixture and a wire whisk. Slowly pour into the skillet whisking while you go, get all the brown bits off.
  10. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until mixture thickens a little.
  11. Add in your peas and continue to gently simmer until peas are heated through or cooked. Serve immediately. If the mixture won't thicken up right, add in equal parts of cornstarch and cold stock.
This recipe is slightly modified from another source I can't quite recall at the moment. The technique, however, is slightly different. Let me know how it works out :)

P.S. I find it really funny that I called this a quick and easy dinner, after posting this I realize I've sucked up the remainder of my study time for the rest of the night. LOL

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