My big brother did a wonderful thing for our family when he married an amazing Chinese woman. SW has brought many great things to our family, including but certainly not limited to the introduction to authentic Chinese food made at home. I could talk about all her other qualities but lets stick with the cooking.

Like her mum, my sister in law usually prepares 3 or more dishes for us to gorge ourselves on, picking bits and pieces from each selection. Whenever I go and visit my brother and his wife I request nearly the same meal every time. Rice, bok choy, an egg and mushroom dish which has no name and Mapo Tofu. SW. always used to ask me what I would like and I would always say, “that mushroom eggy thing and mapo tofu”. I think she finds it strange that I love these 2 dishes so much, needless to say she has stopped asking me what I would like.

Many years ago I introduced J. to mapo tofu, of course adding additional chillies for him, it has now become one of our go to meals and J. has often packed it up  to have for lunch at work. It is a fast and delicious dish to throw together during the week and you can make a big amount without too much trouble.

I cheat when I make this and buy the Mapo Tofu mix (though the packet says Mabo Tofu) from our local Asian supermarket Lee Lee’s. You can easily just follow the instructions on the back but we mix it up a little. The packet mixes come in mild, medium and hot so you choose your own level of heat, of course we go with hot!

In a large wok or frying pan I heat up some canola oil and fry some green onions (about 5 stalks), a handful of finely chopped chillies and two large tablespoonfuls of chinese chilli & garlic in oil. After a couple of minutes I add in the meat, we usually use ground pork but have used chicken and beef before. So I put in 500 grams of pork and cook until it has browned a little.

Next step is to add the Mapo Tofu packet mix. We use 2 packets for this amount of meat so that it is really nice and saucy. I add both packets and stir it through the meat. Finally I add in 500 grams of cubed tofu. I use just plain, regular tofu for this as it soaks up the flavor really quickly. This just needs to cook for a few minutes until the tofu has heated through.

We normally just eat this with rice but occassionally I add some quickly steamed bok choy so that I can get J. to eat a vegetable. The real trick with Mapo Tofu is to get him to stop eating after his second helping! Try this out, so easy, a little different and really delicious!


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