Vegetarian Mapo Doufu
- 4 scallions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a chunk of ginger
- 1 cube of vegetable bouillon with 2 cups of water (or 2 cups of veg stock)
- 1 tbsp of tianmianjiang (sweetened soybean paste) or hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp of sake
- 1 tsp of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
- 2 dried red chilies
- 2 tbsp of huajiao (sichuan pepper)
- 2 packs of silken tofu
- 1 pack (340 g) of vegetarian ground meat such as Smart Ground
- vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp of corn starch
- sesame oil
- finely chop the scallions.
- peel garlic, equivalent amount of ginger, and grate them both.
- microwave water with the vegetable bouillon for 2 minutes, and crush the bouillon.
- add tianmianjiang, sake, and soy sauce to the soup base.
- set aside doubanjiang in a small bowl.
- finely chop red chilies into rings.
- grind huajiao using mortar and pestle.
- open Smart Ground from the package, and cut it half.
- open silken tofu packages, drain excess water, and cut them into 3 cm (1.2 inch) cubes.
- heat a wok on medium high, add vegetable oil, and fry grated ginger, garlic and half of the scallions.
- once you start smelling the garlic (30 sec), make some room in the wok, and add in doubanjiang.
- let doubanjiang cook till the bottom changes color and sticks to the wok. (about 1 min) using ladle or spatula scrape the paste off the wok.
- add Smart Ground to the wok, crush them into pieces, mix well, and let it cook until the bottom part is crisply browned.
- add soup base to the wok, mix well, and bring it to a boil.
- carefully slide in the tofu, gently mix them so they are covered in soup, drop the heat to medium low, and stew for 2 minutes.
- while tofu is cooking, mix cornstarch with equivalent amount of water, mix well and set aside.
- remove the tofu from heat, pour the cornstarch all around, and quickly mix it in.
- put the tofu on high heat till the soup comes to a simmer and thickens.
- turn off the heat, and drizzle sesame oil all around.
- serve with the other half of the scallion and ground huajiao.
getting the ingredients may be challenging for some of you. most of them should be available online or at a local specialty store or a super market: