Friday, August 10, 2018

Spicy Pork & Vegetable Tofu – Probably Not Mapo Tofu

This might look like I was trying to make a version of a famous Chinese dish called mapo tofu, but that's not the case, and in fact, I'm pretty sure I was making this before I knew what mapo tofu was. And now that I’ve addressed the people that were going to complain this isn’t authentic, we can continue.

I'm assuming that whatever I did get this idea from was most likely a version of mapo, but that's as far as it goes. Which reminds me, this is a great recipe to adapt to your own tastes, not only with the sauce ingredients, but also in regards to what vegetables you include.

Zucchini is our favorite, especially if you take the extra 15 minutes to salt it, but pretty much any dice-able seasonal vegetables will shine. So, please keep this one in mind as you browse the farmers market, but no matter what you put in, I really do hope you a give this delicious tofu dish a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Portions:
1 1/4 pounds ground pork
1 pound firm tofu, cubed (my package was 14 ounces)
handful of sliced green onions
minced hot chili peppers, as much as you like
3 small zucchini, cubed, toss with 1 tablespoon kosher salt (rinse after 15 minutes)
freshly chopped cilantro to finish
sliced green onions for the top

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons Korean chili paste aka Gochujang, or other chili paste product to taste (click here to read a little more about Gochujang)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger


Spinni said...

We (husband and me) had this for dinner tonight, really good!

However, the next time I will tweak a bit.
1. Leave out the tofu. We found it didn't do much for the texture and taste (not big tofu fans anyway). But, I think the recipe would work with tofu only if you are looking for a vegetarian option.
2. Less vinegar. I used rice vinegar without seasoning and added some sugar as mentioned in the video. Still, the vinegar was a bit too dominant for us. I noticed this in a couple of Chef John's recipes, he seems to enjoy the tanginess of vinegar a lot more than we do :)
3. Reduce or leave out the hoisin sauce. There are a lot of "umami bombs" in the sauce and it is a bit too much for us. We ate this with rice and it still was a bit overwhelming.
4. Make it hotter. I'm thinking about adding a bit of Sambal Oelek. I could only find a medium hot Gochujang and we like a bit more heat.

I will make this again once the next two cayenne pepper on my balcony are ripe because it is impossible to buy them in a store where I live.

CaseyRocky said...

Real cayenne - I had to hunt some down to make billionaire’s franks and beans - that was the first. Now that I know where to get it, I want more recipes with it.

CaseyRocky said...

Real cayenne - I had to hunt some down to make billionaire’s franks and beans - that was the first. Now that I know where to get it, I want more recipes with it.

Allisgrand said...

Oh man, oh man, oh man. Chef John, you did it again! I made this last night and it was beyond amazing! I'm excited to put an egg on the leftovers and call it my breakfast!

Unknown said...

Chef...this looks awesome...making it tonight your work Mark of Brisbane Australia

Amanda Hall said...

Delicious, as always! The Hubster made this on Sunday and we all (6) loved it! The kids always ask when we are making a new recipe, which we do often, "Is it Chef John?" They love Chef John's recipes!

Nutriwell India said...

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Bill said...

What about salting (or brining) the tofu, to extract some of the water?

Andrew_M_Garland said...

Press the block of tofu between two plates and a weight to squeeze out water as desired. Wait 20 minutes for the water to release.

LogicApe said...

I've made this three or four times; it's a great recipe - thanks Chef John. I was able to find the real Korean chili paste, and it makes a difference. I also began adding broccoli - it needs to cook a little longer, but it's good. I doubled the sauce to night, and I have to say it's too much, even with rice. A better ratio (even with the additional broccoli) would be to make 1.5 times the amount of sauce instead of doubling. Thanks for all the great recipes Chef John!