Monday, 18 August 2014

Food & Cooking: Locky's Mapo Tofu (Meaty/ Vegetarian)!!!

Mapo Tofu
Image from Locky's English Playground

When it comes to cooking, my favourite dish has got to be Mapo Tofu / Doufu. The hot and mellow tofu with slight saltiness and tingly spicy chili at the tip of your tongue is the most desirable sensation for an appetising dinner and the perfect rice partner!

It is quick to cook and requires very little cooking skill.

Image from Locky's English Playground

You'll need the followings:
Image from Locky's English Playground
  1. Some tofu
  2. Some mustard tuber
  3. Oyster sauce
  4. Dark soy sauce
  5. Shaoxing wine
  6. Sesame seed oil
  7. Chili bean sauce
  8. Sugar
The most important sauce
Image from Locky's English Playground
Step 1: Cut mustard tuber into small bits and place them in a bowl.

Image from Locky's English Playground
Step 2: Measure about 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine and 1 tablespoon of chili bean sauce and add them to the bowl. The ratio is 3:1:2:1 for 1 box of tofu, 350ml, and I have no idea why tofu is measured in millilitre. If you like to have more spicy hotness, add more chili bean sauce.

Image from Locky's English Playground

Step 3: Cut tofu block into small cubes.  
Transverse then sagittal cuts
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The rule to a tidy, stable tofu block cut is to realise how friction and intermolecular forces work. From my experience, the best way to cut a tofu block in order to maintain its intactness, is to first make a transverse (or horizontal) cut half way across the middle. The weight of the upper half block will provide enough friction with the lower half block so that it will not slide over each other (F= mg). After that, perform sagittal (vertical width) cuts,

Coronal cuts
Image from Locky's English Playground
and finally, coronal (vertical length) cuts. Does that mean I cannot change the order? No, but I recommend performing the transverse cut first because the intermolecular forces have much to do with the number of dissected cubes, otherwise you will have too many cubes and a much weakened intermolecular force to hold each one of the cubes together.

Nicely done!
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Step 4: Fry minced beef or pork beef (if you are not a vegetarian)

frying minced pork
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Step 5: Using large flame, add the bowl of tuber and sauce into the almost-cooked minced pork, add two bowl of water and stir.

Adding water to the mix
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Step 6: When the mixture is heated up, add tofu cubes into it. WARNING!!! Don't STIR!!! Just PUSH, LIFT then repeat!!! Until colour starts to stick to the tofu, then switch to small flame.
Push, lift back, then push!
Image from Locky's English Playground
The purpose of this manoeuvre is to maintain the intactness of the cubes, as tofu is susceptible to breaking. They will break in the process anyway so you do not want to speed up the process intentionally.

Step 7: Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to add fragrance and smoothness!

Why is sesame oil added last?
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The reason sesame oil is added last is that we want the colours and taste of the sauce to enter the tofu cubes, if sesame oil is added too early, it will stick to the surfaces of the tofu and stop the sauce from permeating into the cubes.

Step 8: Prepare about half a bowl of water and stir at least 2 tablespoons of corn starch to produce a coagulant. Pour gentle with stirring until the viscosity changes and the sauce becomes thick.

Stir gently
Image from Locky's English Playground
Add a little green on top to make it look prettier if you prefer! But serving with rice is a must!


jiffy -- (n) [S] informal a very short time
transverse -- (adj) specialized horizontal, in a position or direction that is at an angle of 90° to something else
sagittal -- (adj) see Resource for more details
coronal -- (adj) see Resource for more details
friction -- (n)[U] the force which makes it difficult for one object to slide along the surface of another or to move through a liquid or gas, see Resource for more details
intermolecular force -- (n)[C] see Resource for more details
manoeuvre -- (n)[C] UK (US maneuver) a movement or set of movements needing skill and care
susceptible -- (adj) easily influenced or harmed by something
permeate -- (vb) [I usually + adv/prep, T] formal to spread through something and be present in every part of it
coagulant -- (n)[C] see Resource for more details
viscosity -- (n)[U] specialized describes a liquid that is thick and sticky and does not flow easily

Mapo Doufu @ Wikipedia

Transverse plane @ Wikipedia

Sagittal plane @ Wikipedia

Coronal plane @ Wikipedia

Friction @ Wikipedia

Intermolecular force @ Wikipedia

Coagulation (milk) @ Wikipedia