Ever since I cooked that sautéed tofu or bean curd with Chinese chives, I am getting to like tofu more. I was not a big fan of tofu because it is so bland and in the Philippines, we used it sparingly as an ingredient to our pancit, our Filipino noodle dish, fresh lumpia – our country’s version of spring roll or as my family’s favorite – tokwa at baboy (fried very firm tofu with boiled pork then dipped in soy sauce with garlic and vinegar).
Now am getting to appreciate it more. I bought a double pack of firm tofu as I wanted to try this recipe Mapo Tofu or Pock-Marked Ma’s Bean Curd or Mapo Doufu in Szechwan. I have also bought a used Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook from Amazon, with very good reviews and came highly recommended by every owner of the book.
The Schrecker’s went to China to study they hired Mrs. Chiang to be their cook. They loved Chinese food so much that they decided to offer Mrs. Chiang to go back with them to Minnesota.
Mrs. Chiang was an accomplished cook and they scoured the markets to look for authentic ingredients and when they were not available, possible substitutes. She tried to recreate each recipe the way they made it in her household. The book is very simple to follow – it is like the idiots guide to easy Szechwan cooking and how to turn out real great Chinese dishes in an American kitchen.
Mrs. Chiang’s Mapo Doufu, unlike the recipes you find in the internet, calls for water chestnut. I wasn’t prepared for that as I’ve read the recipe for this dish even before I’ve had the book. So I omitted that in this dish otherwise I had all the ingredients. Another variation in the internet is the use of salted black beans which I had but didn’t use.
I skipped the hot pepper sauce but next time I think I will try the hot version. Or maybe it is still not too late to add a spoonful as I have the ingredient in my pantry anyway. Besides what’s a Szechwan dish if it not fiery hot!
Next time I make this, I will make sure I add water chestnuts and salted black beans and am sure this tofu dish will shine as they promised it to be – right blend of sweet, salty and hot with the silky soft tofu.