Mapo Tofu with Pak and Ong Choy

Though Mapo Tofu came originally from the Sichuan province in China, it is now served in Chinese restaurants all over the world, and is known to have hundreds of variations.  So, I feel fairly safe with my designation here. Bob objects to dozens of those tiny, bright red, searingly hot chili peppers scattered throughout a dish of food. So that was the first thing to go.  Instead, I just added a healthy sized dollop of Mae Ploy Chili Sauce, with the thought that what you don't see can't hurt.  Right?  And, then for it's vibrant color, sliced strips of red bell pepper.

The Ong Choy is at the very bottom of the photo.  Pond desperately in need of weeding.

Our pond, thanks to a water garden tour I took last year, now has Ong Choy growing in there.  I have read that in some places this hardy little green is taking over bodies of water and considered noxious.  A point of view that depends upon your perspective.  A good remedy would be for more of you folks to eat this plant.  It is a popular Asian green with scads of other alias', such as Swamp Cabbage, Water Convolvulus, Water Morning Glory, Pak Bung, Rau Muong, and etc.  I didn't care for the sound of Swamp Cabbage, but with so many names to choose from, we can take our pick.  The Chinese around here all know it as ong choy, so ong choy it is.

I don't mind weeding so much when I get to eat some of it afterwords.  And, to round things off, I added a nice bunch of Pak Choy, some onions and lots of garlic.

Garlic is important in Mapo Tofu, along with the chilli peppers of course.  For Mapo Tofu, I really prefer the soft silken style tofu, but only had the firm.  You can use either however.  In a dish like this, your mis en place is vital, as you want to be able to throw things into a very hot wok, in proper order, and in quick sucession.

Mapo Tofu with Pak and Ong Choy

for 2-3 Servings
1 small onion, or 1/2 large, roughly chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch ong choy (or chard, spinach, etc.) tender stems chopped separately
1 bunch pak choy, roughly chopped, white stems separated from the greens
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1 block tofu, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes, preferably the Silken soft tofu
2 tablespoons Mae Ploy chilli sauce (or whole, red Thai chili peppers to taste)
1/4 cup tamari sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
2 heaping tablespoons yellow miso
1-2  tablespoons fish sauce

You might want to start your rice first, then get all the veggies out, cleaned and chopped, ready to go.  In a glass measuring cup, mix together the seasonings, miso, cornstarch and water.

Heat your wok on high, then add the oil.  Toss in the onion and garlic first, stirring a minute or so, before adding the chili peppers (if using) bell pepper, then the white parts of the pak choy, and stems of the ong choy.  Stir fry 2 more minutes, then add the leafy greens, tossing it all together, then the tofu and the liquid seasoning mixture.  Stir fry just until the greens are wilted and the sauce thickens.

Now you have a wonderfully fragrant and savory Sichuan dish to serve over your rice.  Pretty fast and easy if I do say so. This will go over to Chaya's blog for her My Meatless Mondays event.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

Well you know I adore tofu so I desperately need to try this dish! it sounds like it's seriously jam-packed with flavor!