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04.20.2006

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Quick Fix | Ma Po Tofu 
Anyone who thinks of tofu as a bland, tasteless food hasnít tried this dish. A Chinese restaurant staple, Ma Po Tofu is incredibly easy to make at home and can be assembled and cooked in far less than the amount of time it takes to cook up some plain rice.

ingredients
1 package tofu, soft or firm [not silken]
Ĺ pound lean ground pork [or substitute ground turkey if you prefer]
3 cloves garlic
2-3 stalks scallions [reserve a small handful for garnishing the dish]
1 tbsp chili bean paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch paste [cornstarch mixed with water]
1 tsp cooking oil
stock or water
time 20 min
serves 3-4

1. Mince 3 cloves garlic and chop 2-3 stalks scallions finely. Drain 1 package of tofu and cut into ĺ" cubes.
2. Add oil to a wok and heat on medium high. Stir-fry the ground meat. When meat is no longer pink, add the chopped garlic and stir.
3. Add 1 tbsp chili bean paste, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp soy sauce, then stir. Let cook for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add tofu and scallions; stir and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, then add enough stock or water to almost [but not quite] cover.
5. Let mixture come to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 5 minutes.
6. Taste; add more salt if it doesnít taste salty enough, more chili bean paste if itís not spicy enough, a pinch of sugar if you find it a tad too salty.
7. Stir in the cornstarch paste; cook until the sauce starts to thicken.
8. Pour into a shallow bowl and drizzle with sesame oil. Sprinkle with the remaining scallions. Serve with plenty of steamed white rice.

o

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