My Seventies Kitchen Episode 2: Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu is a dish, much like Bolognese for the Italians, that has a strong foundation in traditional preparation – which is essential to understand before tinkering around with it. This recipe represents ten years of tweaking and substituting, before finally arriving at what I love personally.

The Condiments:

All of these are pretty standard in the Asian pantry, but there are a few ways to up your game here. The most important is sourcing Shaoxing wine with no salt added – the flavor is vastly superior and will reflect in your Mapo Tofu. The choice of soy sauce is all about what you prefer; I like the double fermented style because of the beefiness of the dish. To add the traditional fermented black beans, I essentially buzz them into a paste with the ginger and garlic because I prefer the texture. In choosing a Doubanjiang, try to find one that utilizes broad beans instead of soybeans – as, with all of these condiments, a little research goes a long way. The ketchup, while it may seem unorthodox, is a good thing. Lastly, buy high-quality Sichuan peppercorns and grind and sift them yourself for maximum effect.

The Meat & Tofu

For the longest time, I made this dish with ground pork (and chicken stock in the sauce) until one day, I randomly tried ground beef. I much preferred the outcome, fair use for the high-quality ground beef that is often a bit lean to use in things like meatballs, but perfect here because there are plenty of other sources of fat. I recommend Heiwa Tofu because it is delicious and made locally, so obviously, this may vary for you. What will not differ is that the better the quality of tofu, the better your Mapo Tofu will be.

The Rice

Many people would find my use of coconut rice downright appalling – and I am comfortable with that. To me, the buttery, luxurious style of the rice is the perfect foil for the many levels of spicy brought on by the Mapo Tofu. I am still happy eating the dish over plain steamed rice, as that is the way it is traditionally enjoyed.

All Production by No End Media

S2 E8: Moss, Rocks, and Catalina Breezes in the morning with chef Devin Finigan

Chef Devin Finigan truly does it all. Her restaurant, Aragosta at Goose Cove in Deer Isle, Maine, is simply one of the most enjoyable experiences in the entire state. Her enthusiasm for what she does is absolutely contagious and left me wanting to schedule another visit in the Fall. 

In this episode, we discuss the past, present, and future of Aragosta, while deviating to address everything from dining al fresco to cod sperm. Also that time someone ruined my birthday cake.. 

Also we make Mint Juleps with Belfry Bourbon from Stroudwater Distillery, the recipe is available here on the site!

You can also find the episode on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play!, and Stitcher. 
Also, Feel Free to SHARE, FOLLOW and RATE Us on iTunes!
MANY thanks go to our sponsors: 

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Lil’s Cafe
The Old Port Sea Gril
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If you would like to know more about sponsorship opportunities, respond to Joe Ricchio at jsricchio@gmail.com

Production and Editing by Chris Loughran and Doreen O’Donnell of No End Media.