Friday, September 3, 2010

Ma Po Tofu and Bean Sprouts with Scallion

Teeny Tiny Kitchen
 I have a tiny kitchen so it doesn't pay to invest in a lot of pots and pans. So I got one good one, a Calphalon Everyday Pan that can be both a skillet and a pot. To go with the tiny kitchen is a tiny apartment sized refrigerator that doesn't hold much. I'm constantly juggling leftovers with freshly cooked food. The fridge was getting full so it was time to move stuff. I had half a cake of firm tofu and a pound of bean sprouts both left over from this week's pad thai. Hence, dinner! First, Ma Po Tofu is simply bean curd in a spicy meat sauce. The Bean Sprouts with Scallion is my own invention using whatever is on hand.

Ma Po Tofu (Spicy Bean Curd)
Ma Po Tofu
1 cup bean curd
1/2 pound ground pork
1 scallion minced
1/2 inch of ginger root, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chili, chopped
1 tablespoon chili sauce (sold in Asian markets as sambal)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Pour hot water over the bean curd and let sit about 5 minutes. Drain and cut into bite size pieces.

Combine scallion, ginger, garlic, and chili pepper in a small bowl. Heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add scallion mixture and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Add chili sauce, sesame oil, and chicken stock. Cook until bubbly. Add the bean curd and gently turn to combine. Mix cornstarch and water together. Add to the sauce to thicken. Remove to a serving bowl and keep warm. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Bean Sprouts with Scallion
1 lb bean sprouts, picked over
1 scallion, cut into 1 inch lengths
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper to taste
Fish sauce to taste, if desired

Pinch off the root and any brown bits on the bean sprouts. Wash and drain.

Wipe out the skillet used to make the Ma Po Tofu with a paper towel.  Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the scallion and garlic and fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bean sprouts and combine. Add the water and cook uncovered until the bean sprouts just turn transparent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add fish sauce, if desired.

Ah, dinner!