Okay, this may not sound wonderful, but it’s really quite good and simple to make. As I have mentioned before, one of my favorite food websites is Food52. I have found several very good recipes though the site as well as some fun – and useful – kitchen items to purchase. I love Asian food, especially as an antidote to the occasional over-indulgence in some rich foods. I haven’t located a delivery Chinese restaurant that ever seems worth the expense to me and frankly, what could be fresher than homemade.
This recipe is known as Ma Po Tofu in restaurants and is usually made with ground pork. I chose ground turkey, but feel free to substitute ground pork if you prefer. This is an adaptation of an adaptation of a recipe that was originally published in Food & Wine.
Ma Po Tofu (Stir-Fried Bean Curd with Ground Turkey) – adapted from Robin Diane
Yield: 4 portions unless served with other dishes
1 pound ground turkey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 bunch minced scallions or more to taste
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
About 1 teaspoon sesame oil (regular or “hot”)
About 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used Peanut oil)
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) minced jalapeno pepper
1 rounded Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 rounded Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup chicken stock, preferably unsalted
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1 pound fresh firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (see my instructions on pressing tofu)
- Press tofu according to instructions, cut into large dice and refrigerate until ready to use.
- When ready to cook, combine the ground turkey, egg, 1 Tablespoon of the cornstarch, the five-spice powder, about 1 Tablespoon of the scallions, 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar. 1/2 teaspoon of the seasme oil and the salt. In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1.5 Tablespoons of the oil over high heat until it is shimmering. Then add the turkey mixture and break it up with a wooden utensil until it browns. Stir-fry until it is cooked through – about 3 minutes. Transfer to a strainer over a bowl to drain any excess fat.
- Lower the heat to moderate and add about 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil until it is hot. Stir in alll of the remaining scallions (except for about 1 Tablespoon that you have set aside for garnish), the red and jalapeno peppers, garlic and giner. Stir-fry until fragrant – about 30 seconds. Add back the cooked turkey and the remaining sugar and mix well. Increase the heat to high, stir in the chicken stock, soy sauce and oyster sauce and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in 2 teaspoons of cold water. When well mixed, add the mixture to the center of the pan, stirring as you do it. Gently stir in the tofu and cook for about 3 minutes more until heated through. Serve over steamed or boiled rice and sprinkle with the remaining chopped scallions and drizzle with a bit more sesame oil.