On the menu

Recipe: Ma Po tofu with button mushrooms 

A classic dish from China’s Sichuan province

This dish is a classic from China’s Sichuan province, says Bonnie Chung. While its peppery heat hits you right between the eyes, it is actually a delicate recipe that celebrates tofu’s panna cotta-like texture. Serve with fluffy steamed rice.

Serves 4 
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 4 spring onions, green parts only, finely chopped 
  • 4 tbsp Sichuan chilli bean paste 
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped or grated garlic 
  • 2 tbsp peeled and finely chopped or grated fresh ginger 
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper 
  • 100ml water 
  • 600g firm or soft tofu, drained for 20 minutes and cut into 2.5cm cubes 
  • 10 small button mushrooms, kept whole 
  • 2 tsp potato flour or corn flour 
  • to serve (optional): coriander 
  • 2 pinches of crushed Sichuan peppercorns 
  • steamed rice and greens
Method
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, then throw in the spring onions, chilli bean paste and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Stir in the ginger, white pepper and water.
  • Place the tofu carefully into the pan and stir the sauce around it, reduce the heat and add the mushrooms.
  • In a small bowl, mix the potato flour with 1 tbsp of water until smooth, then pour this mixture into the pan while stirring gently, to thicken the sauce around the tofu and mushrooms.
  • Serve immediately scattered with coriander and Sichuan pepper, if you like, with steamed rice and greens.
Ma Po tofu with button mushrooms recipe from Tofu Tasty by Bonnie Chung 

Taken from Tofu Tasty by Bonnie Chung, published by Pavilion Books at £14.99. To buy from The Week Bookshop for £13.99, call 020-3176 3835 or visit theweekbookshop.co.uk

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