The simplest things are sometimes the scrummiest. On days when you’re all out of oomph, a quick, comforting meal is all it takes to make it all better. For me, Mapo Tofu does a pretty good job of that.
According to our dear friend Wiki, the name ‘mapo’ is sometimes translated as ‘pockmarked lady’. What?? I know, how unappetising right? I much prefer the more sanguine description of ‘ma’ – meaning ‘numb’, which is what happens to your mouth when you eat the fiery peppercorns and chilli in the dish. Considering the dish originates from Szechuan China, it’s not surprising that chilli and peppercorns are star ingredients.
I don’t think I’ve ever followed a specific recipe for this dish. It’s pretty basic. Stir fry minced pork with garlic, spicy chilli bean paste / chilli oil, soy or oyster sauce (depending on how salty the chilli bean paste is), add stock, bring to a boil, add cubed medium tofu. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch if necessary, garnish with spring onions (which I forgot this time)…serve with steamed rice. Done!