Sichuan Inspired Vegetarian Stew

Sichuan Inspired Vegetarian Stew

Fall is a time for comfort food. And nothing says comfort food more than one bowl of savory stew. Mapo tofu is a typical dish from Northern China that has the consistency of a stew. It’s got chunks of tofu and small flecks of pork simmered together in a spicy rich sauce comprised of chili, Sichuan peppercorns, and sesame oil.  It’s perfect on a cold day because the heat from the dish will warm you right up.  And did I mention this dish takes less than 20 minutes to cook? A stew like dish that doesn’t take over an hour should be tempting enough for you to give it a go. And once you taste it, you’ll want to add this dish into your fall favorites.

Here is my version of the traditional mapo tofu dish except it’s meat free and packed with extra nutrients. I made a slight adjustment to this dish by using tofu made with black soybeans and yellow soybeans. In the market you can find this tofu product under the brand Nasoya and it’s labeled Black Soybean Tofu Plus. These line is fortified with extra protein, calcium and vitamins.  However, you can use regular tofu (soft, medium or firm). Soft and medium is more traditional however the firm if cut into small cubes can add a nice texture to the dish when you don’t have any pork or protein added to it. 

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • 1 pack of tofu (12 oz) cut into tiny cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup thinly sliced brown onions
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoon hot bean paste 
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp chili flake
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chili oil
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn (optional: this can be found in a Chinese market but not easily found in regular supermarkets)
  • sea salt to season
  • slurry (1 tsp corn starch:1 tsp of water)- whisk

Directions:

  1. Heat a non stick pan with avocado oil to high heat
  2. Add onions, garlic, ginger and tofu cook for 1 min, until fragrant
  3. Add vegetable stock, bean paste, and soy sauce. Cook for 3-5 minutes and let it come to a boil.
  4. This will allow the sauce to cook into the tofu a bit
  5. Add your chili oil, chili flake, and powder. Taste and add salt if you want it a bit saltier
  6. Once the flavor is right, add your slurry and stir vigorously. Cook for another 1 min on high heat.
  7. Now crack two eggs on to the top of the mapo tofu and cover with a lid and turn heat to low.
  8. Cook for 3 minutes or until the egg whites settle. The yolk can be very runny.
  9. Serve into bowls making sure that each bowl has one yolk. Sprinkle some cilantro and drizzle sesame oil on top. (1 tsp sesame oil per bowl)

Enjoy on it’s own or over rice. 

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