Spicy Szechuan Mapo Tofu with Chicken
We love all sorts of Chinese foods in our household, especially those originating from the Szechuan province for its spicy flair on everything. I have to admit that most Chinese foods look bland because it lacks the amount of spices of Indian or Malay cuisine, but the magic is in its simplicity - the star is always the fresh produce - and the play on simple ingredients.
I once asked my husband what cuisine he'd choose to eat if he could only eat ONE cuisine for the rest of his life - his answer was Chinese. AND SO WAS MINE! That makes me excited because I love learning new Chinese recipes - there is a huge and diverse world of Chinese cooking, originating from the many regions of China and morphed over time through Chinese settlers all around the world.
Enjoy this Mapo Tofu recipe, you can substitute the chicken for any minced meat you prefer - they typically use beef in China.
Recipe serves 4 people. 5 mins prep time, total cook time approximately 20 mins.
300g chicken, minced
1 silken tofu, cubed
2 tablespoon Szechuan mala sauce (I got this from Redmart)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh Szechuan peppercorns
2 garlic, chopped
2 chili padi, chopped
Spring onion, chopped for garnish
Salt to taste
1. In a wok or pan, heat oil and fry chopped garlic until golden brown. Quickly fry 1 teaspoon fresh Szechuan peppercorns until fragrant for 1 min.
2. Add minced chicken, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, chopped chili padi and mix well until chicken is cooked through.
3. Stir in 2 tablespoon Szechuan mala sauce. Add 1-2 tablespoon of water/stock if the mixture is too dry.
4. Gently stir in the silken tofu carefully to make sure it does not break up. Fry on medium heat for 3-4 mins. Salt to taste.
5. Serve hot with sprinkling of freshly chopped spring onion. Best eaten with a bowl of white rice.
ALY'S COOKING TIPS
1. You can use minced beef, chicken or pork for this dish. Just make sure to cook through the meat before adding the tofu. I like my meat spicy and salty - this forms the base flavour of the finished dish.
2. Only use silken tofu as regular tofu or 'taukwa' is too hard and dense.
3. Always serve with fresh chopped spring onion. This added depth of flavour adds to a fresh crunch in every bite.