Mapo Tofu has become an increasingly popular dish at Chinese restaurants. I myself am a huge fan of Mapo Tofu and so it makes me excited to see more and more people coming into my restaurant, wanting to order this dish. During the pandemic, many of our favorite Chinese restaurants shutdown. With the measly selection of deliveries, many of our customers craved our dishes and couldn't find a way to replicate any of these flavors at home. There's really no jar of sauce you can find at any grocery store that can do our dishes any justice. Something always just doesn't taste quite right. So when I was approached to do virtual demos and cooking sessions, I jumped at the opportunity. While my restaurant went through a hiatus during the pandemic, I found ways to make Chinese food approachable for people all over the U.S by doing virtual cooking sessions. One of my most popular dishes was Mapo Tofu.
The version I created is not traditional by any means. In fact, my goal in creating this recipe was to make something equally delicious and addicting without making it unapproachable. Mapo tofu traditionally includes a variety of spices and seasonings, many of which are hard to find for people, especially during a pandemic. So instead of making my guests try to find certain Chinese spices and seasonings, I swapped those spices for the ones you find in Italian sausages. This dish is something you can make at home with regular pantry items and grocery store finds. It may not taste like the traditional Mapo Tofu you get at your favorite Chinese restaurant but it definitely doesn’t lack in flavor and tastes equally as fantastic, just with a familiar twist.
Spicy Mapo Tofu with Italian Sausage
Serves: 2 Total Time: 15 minutes
3 hot Italian sausages (remove from casing)
1 pack of medium firm organic tofu (cut into small cubes)
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sambal (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
salt for extra seasoning
¼ cup diced green onions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional garnish)
1 teaspoon avocado oil (for cooking)
1. Heat a deep non stick pan with avocado oil to high heat
2. Add sausage and stir fry until nicely brown, 3-5 minutes. Be sure to break the pieces apart into small chunks.
3. Add tofu into the pan along with soy sauce, garlic and chili powder.
4. Stir to fully incorporate and cook for 2 minutes on high heat.
5. Add sambal, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt and simmer on medium heat.
6. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if you need it. Depending on the type of Italian sausage you use, you may not need to season with salt anymore as the sausage itelf has a ton of flavor.
7. Turn heat off and plate. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds (optional). Enjoy with a bowl of rice:)
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