I try to eat less dinner or sometimes not to eat dinner at all. This is a very good lifestyle. Not just for controlling my weight, but I feel more energetic in the morning. Having a big meal in the evening, especially a late night snack makes my stomach not so well the next morning. I was surprised to see there is a new vegetarian, or I should say vegan stand opening near my mother’s place in Nantou, Taiwan. I broke my rules for eating less in the evening.
Nantou is a beautiful place surrounded by mountains in Taiwan. It is the only county which has no border to the sea, and it is also my birth place. In May, I went back to visit my mother as she just finished having eye surgery. I walked to that vegan stand in the market place in the evening just to eat mapo tofu. It was a very simple version. The weather was hot, I was sweating. I assume this is how you should eat it, when it’s really hot.
Later when I visited my brother who lives in Taipei, he prepared mapo tofu again. His version tasted even better. I regret that I didn’t take photos of all those different mapo tofu.
There are different hot and spicy levels for mapo tofu, please choose one according to your personal taste.
Sichuan pepper ( optional. If you can’t handle the spice, try not to add this for the first time as it’s not just spicy)
Chili pepper (optional)
Hot bean sauce 哈哈辣豆瓣( suggested. If you choose to use the fresh ingredients above, you don’t need this sauce. But for a lot of Asians, this tastes really good as the company is created in Taiwan by a war veteran from Sichuan, and normally you can buy it easily in any Asian grocery store.)
Shiitake 2-3 pieces (optional. This increases the sweetness flavour for this dish. Not a must, if you are not a mushroom person, or for budget reason.)
Coriander leaves 1 or 2 (optional)
Corn flour 1 or 2 tbsp ( the amount differs from different brands you use)
Any plant oil, I will use sunflower oil in this case
Vegetarian oyster sauce or sweet soy sauce
Step by Step
Cut shiitake into small slices.
Mix corn flour with water.
Cut tofu into small pieces, e.g. 1.5x3 cm.
Add oil to the frying pan. Add a very small amount of salt. Stir it so that the salt dissolves in the oil. This step helps you prevent from being burnt by the oil. (But be careful)
Add Sichuan pepper to the oil. Wait for a minute. Take them out carefully from the oil.
Add cut shiitake in the frying pan, sauté them for about 2 mins. If you opt to use Hot Bean Sauce instead of fresh peppers, then just ignore the previous step.
Add sweet corn and peas to the frying pan, stir them good. Then you can add the cut Silken tofu in.
Now add mixed corn flour with water. Stir them when necessary. If it gets too dry, add a little bit more water.
Finally add vegetarian oyster sauce and hot bean sauce or chili pepper.
Put everything on a plate, and add a few leaves of coriander leaves.
Now I really feel like to eat them again.