As I child I though Mabo Tofu was a Japanese dish, why, I’m not exactly sure.  I knew I could get it at Chinese Restaurants, but the sauce you could buy in the stores to make it at home always seemed to look Japanese to me.  Once I went gluten-free, I really wanted this slightly spicy, always delicious, tofu and pork dish.  Of course every bottle and package of sauce that I read contained soya sauce and of course wheat, so I found myself on a mission to find a recipe that I could adapt myself.

During my online searches, I found oodles of recipes, all slightly different AND I discovered that Mabo (or Mapo) tofu is actually a Szechuan dish; given the spice this really is not all that surprising.  I eventually found 2 recipes (about.com and Nook & Pantry) that seemed reasonable and feasible for me to make, and then I worked with both of them to make a recipe that I really enjoy.  I’ve made this quite a few times and tweaked the ingredients each time; I think I finally have it just right, at least for my liking  – feel free to adapt it to your tastes.

Mabo Tofu

This recipe does however call for some ingredients that will require an Asian grocery store and/or a little searching.  First it requires dried and salted black beans and Chili Bean Paste (my research indicated that Broad Bean Chili Bean Paste is the most authentic, but use what you can find); make sure you read the bottles, most of them have soy and wheat.  I have included an ingredient picture for this recipe to help you find these ingredients.

Mabo ingredients

Gluten-Free Mabo Tofu

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch (cornstarch would be ok)
  • 3.5 Tbsp gluten-free Tamari

Ingredients:

  • ~2Tbsp vegetable oil
  • splash of sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped, white and green sections seperated
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2.5 tsp salted, dried black beans
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Chili Bean Paste (adapt to your tastes as necessary)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 package Medium Firm tofu cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 2 Tbsp gluten-free Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

Directions:

  • Mix the marinade ingredients together and set aside for about 20 minutes.
  • Heat oils in a med-high wok, once hot at the white sections of the green onion and the ginger and saute until fragrant.
  • Add the marinated pork to the oil and cook until brown; you will need to use the back of a spoon to push the pork apart into pieces or you will end up with one big lump of ground pork.
  • Stir salt into the meat and allow flavours to mix, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the salted black beans  and use the back of a spoon to mash them slightly to release the flavours and blend with the meat.
  • Add the Chili Paste and mix into the meat.
  • Add the stock, tofu, remaining green onion, garlic and sugar.  Mix well and continue to cook until tofu has softened and taken on the colours of the sauce.  Approximately 5-7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix the warm water, GF Tamari and cornstarch together (add the cornstarch last).
  • Once the tofu looks ready to eat, add the cornstarch mixture, stir together gently and remove from heat.  This will thicken your sauce and bring everything together (this step is optional).
  • Serve over steaming white rice and enjoy!

Tofu on Foodista

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