マーボー豆腐 Japanese Mapo Tofu
- 1 block cotton tofu, 14 ounces
- 10 ounces ground pork
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- ½ negi or 4 or 5 green onions, white part only, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon toban jan
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons sake
- 3 Tablespoons miso
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 Tbsp katakuriko (potato starch, or corn starch)
- mixed with 1 Tablespoon water
- 4 cups steamed rice
- 1 teaspoon sansho powder
- ½ Tablespoon Japanese sesame oil
- green onions, green part only, cut into rings
Wrap tofu in cheesecloth or a cotton tea towel, add some weight (plate to distribute the weight of a can of tomatoes), and let the tofu drain for about 30 minutes. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes. Some recipes call for briefly boiling the tofu. In this recipe, I coated the tofu cubes with potato starch then seared them in hot oil in a wok. This technique makes the tofu cubes a bit crisp and chewy, somewhat like agedashi tofu. Remove the tofu from the wok to a large plate.
Heat oil in a wok on low heat, add garlic, ginger, and onion. Stir fry for a few minutes. Add the tobanjan, give it a stir then put these seasonings on top of the tofu.
For the sauce, combine water, sake, miso, and sugar in a 2-cup measuring cup. Stir until the sugar and miso dissolve.
Put the ground pork into the hot wok. Pour the sauce mixture into the wok and bring it up to a simmer. Break up the meat so there are no large chunks. The liquid ensures that the meat-sauce will be smoothly cooked.
Add the reserved tofu-seasoning to the wok. Mix the cornstarch with the water and stir it into the wok. Stir gently, so as not to break the tofu cubes, until the sauce is thickened and glossy.
Serve in bowls on top of Japanese rice. Sprinkle a little sansho powder and sesame oil on each bowl. Garnish with the onions.