Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mabo Dofu

Mabo Dofu, or Mabo Tofu, is a favorite dish at our house. Mabo Dofu is the Japanese name for the Chinese dish, Mapo Dofu. I don't remember my mother making this when I was little--the first time I remember having Mabo Dofu was at Hiro Watanabe's Red Shell restaurant in Rowland Heights. The restaurant closed several years ago, but I remember it was my son's favorite thing to order there.

 When I first started to make mabo tofu at home, I used a packaged mapo dofu mix. House brand makes a pretty good one. I used that one for years, but when I tried the recipe from Just One Cookbook, Nami's was so much tastier!

Nami has a great blog and has won many awards. You'll have a lot of fun exploring all her recipes and tips at:  justonecookbook.com.

 Not only is this dish tasty, but it doesn't take long to cook, only about 20 minutes--it will be done in the time it takes to make rice!

Mabo Dofu

adapted from Just One Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/2 lb. ground pork (or any other meat/veggies of your choice)
14 oz. package medium tofu, cut into cubes
1/4 cup sliced green onions

mix together for the sauce:
2 tablespoons Tobanjian (use Tobanjian with chili for spicier sauce)
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon miso
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 cup water

 Nami uses the soft, silken tofu, but I like this one. It's the kind I grew up eating. I also like Trader Joe's medium tofu. You can use whatever is available, or whichever you like.

 Drain the water from the tofu package and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Have the minced garlic and ginger ready, as well as the sauce ingredients.

I couldn't find the same jar of Tobanjian that Nami uses. The next time I go to 99 Ranch Market, I'll look for it--Nami has a photo of the jar of Tobanjian she uses in her pantry. I had to ask someone at Nijiya Market to help me find this one, since the only thing I could read was "Kikkoman" in Japanese (and that's also written in English!). This one's a little bit spicy. In the photo of all the ingredients, there's a red tube of a spicy one--I haven't tried that one yet since this one was spicy enough for me.

 Add 1 tablespoon oil to a hot pan and saute 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon minced ginger root until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground pork and saute over medium heat until cooked through. Add the sauce mixture and stir until the mixture becomes thick like gravy. Add a little more water if the sauce is too thick or too strong for your taste.

When my kids were little, I made mabo tofu and added thinly sliced nappa cabbage or thinly sliced zucchini. If you're adding vegetables, add them after the meat is browned and before you pour the sauce mixture into the pan.

Add the diced tofu and mix gently.

 Add green onions just before serving--I like adding about a quarter-cup. I decided to save most of the green onions to sprinkle on top of each serving.

Serve over hot rice with chili flakes on-the-side for those that like it spicier!

Itadakimasu!


***


 We recently helped my daughter and son-in-law to a new apartment on campus--and as you can see, I'm going to be a grandma!
 
 Rick and Jessica drove up for the weekend to help with the move. We were able to move most everything (with a lot of help, but more about that later) before it started to rain. It poured rain--and then hailed!

I was also able to attend a baby shower given by Karen's friends, Janna, Sarah and Greta. It was so nice to meet them, since Karen has been talking about them since she moved to Northern California. The shower was held at Janna's beautiful home.

 In the entry was a basket of candles Greta made for party favors. It was supposed to be a garden party shower, but since it was actually showering, they moved the party indoors! The potted lavender was a nice garden touch.

 It still felt like a garden party. I loved the decor of Janna's home.

 This is their dining room.

I absolutely loved these blue dishes! You can also see Greta's coconut frosted mini cupcakes on the sideboard, along with Sarah's chocolate covered owl cookies. My daughter chose an owl decor for the baby's room.

 The kitchen breakfast nook overlooks the garden.

Janna had violas and impatients in small clay pots, all the potted plants brought the garden indoors!

Sarah not only made the owl cookies, but also...
 
The cutest owl pillows!

 Along with Sarah, is Christina, Karen & Jeff, Janna's husband.

Jeff, and Greta's husband Luke, did the dishes and put the kitchen back in order. Jeff just might be the warmest host I have met, making me feel instantly welcome with a big bear hug. Luke is easy to like instantly because of the perpetual smile he wears!

When Karen first moved to Northern California, she talked about Greta a lot. I know that Greta is efficient and organized, as well as a great baker. I hear she makes a mint ice cream pie with a chocolate crust and fudge topping that's to-die-for!

 This is Wendy with Karen. When Jessica and I first got to the shower, Wendy took care of us, introducing us to everyone and making us comfortable with her friendly smile and kind manner. Thank you, Wendy!

 I also loved these paintings of the family's three daughters. Can you tell which one is Christina?

Jessica and I really enjoyed meeting all Karen's friends.

 I'm grateful my daughter has such a wonderful group of friends to support her--I know that she will be well taken care of not just by her husband, but by the village that surrounds her.

 The shower guest wrote notes of advice and encouragement for Karen to take home. I sat next to Katt, who was extra-friendly and fun. I am always so appreciative of those chatty women that make me feel so immediately accepted and at-ease.

 The food was wonderful--chocolate covered owl cookies, fruit and vegetable platters, iced cranberry scones and those delicious coconut frosted mini cupcakes. The cooked green & yellow beans, as well as the mini potatoes, were great on the vegetable platter.

There were a few different quiches also. Plus, there was a delicious wild rice salad/lettuce wrap that I'm sorry I didn't get a photo of--it was out-of-the-ordinary! Maybe Janna will share her recipe and it will be a future post.

 Janna & Jeff's garden is lovely. Even though they moved the festivities  indoors, it still felt like a garden party.

When we were leaving, it stopped raining. Janna & Jeff have a beautiful home and I am grateful for their generosity and hospitality. Thank you, also, to Greta, Sarah, and all their guests, for such a nice party to welcome the coming arrival of this child.

Several of the women had to rush home so that their husbands could come and help with the move to Karen & Mitchell's new apartment. Thank you to all that helped--luckily there was a break in the weather to move most of the furniture--and just a few of us got caught in the downpour (and then hail!) after we were about done and walking the last items to the new apartment.

Today is Karen & Mitchell's second anniversary. They're all set in their new home, and we're all awaiting our little one's arrival.

Happy Anniversary!


***


Mabo Dofu

adapted from Just One Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/2 lb. ground pork (or any other meat/veggies of your choice)
14 oz. package medium tofu, cut into cubes
1/4 cup sliced green onions

mix together for the sauce:
2 tablespoons Tobanjian (use Tobanjian with chili for spicy)
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon miso
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 cup water


In a hot skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil and minced garlic and ginger. Cook about 1 minute over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add ground meat, breaking it up and sauteing until browned.

When the meat is cooked, add the sauce mixture, stirring until hot and thickened. Adjust with water if too thick.

Add tofu cubes and stir gently until heated through. Add green onions before removing mabo tofu from heat. Serve over hot rice.


3 comments:

  1. another great entry, Karolyn! and Congratulations!!!

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