6/30/2013 – Two very good uses for tofu

Tofu can be tough to find in Baja.  In Mazatlán we managed to find some that was super-pasteurized or something.  It required no refrigeration until opened (just like the milk we buy here) and kept really well on the boat for months.  Here in La Paz we were able to find regular tofu (the kind that needs refrigeration) as well as a few boxes of the non-refrigerated kind.  But to get firm or extra firm we had to opt for the refrigerated version.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that as long as we’re in port and can get it whenever we want.  But, when we leave here and are living off our on-board stores again, it’d be nice to have a few boxes of firm tofu in the hold.

Those of you who aren’t tofu eaters may well be saying “Who cares if you can’t get hunks of fermented bean curd?  It’s just for vegetarian whack-os anyway, isn’t it?”  If you’ve been reading this blog for at least a few days, you’ll know that, while I may very well be a whack-o, I’m definitely not a vegetarian.  We keep tofu on hand primarily to make our version of Mapo Dofu (recipe at bottom).  The tofu just absorbs all the spicy flavors so well.  That’s pretty much all we’ve ever used tofu in except for the occasional stir-fry, but we found one of those no-cook recipes the other day that used it so we gave it a shot.

This recipe for “Spicy Rice Noodle Salad with Cabbage and Tofu” is from Serious Eats.   We didn’t really do any tweaking so please go directly to the website for the recipe.  However, having said that, we both agreed that next time we would make a minor tweak. The cabbage pieces are too long to be eaten comfortably.  Next time we would make sure the cabbage was cut so that none of the pieces were longer than an inch.  It would be much easier to eat.  And, that being said, I should note that we managed to eat it just fine.  Matter of fact, we chowed down so quickly that the only photo I got was this shot of leftovers the next day.

tofu salad

We both agreed that, other than the long pieces of cabbage, this salad was superb exactly as written.  No tweaks needed.  The tofu soaked up the taste of the fish sauce, chile paste, lime juice, sesame oil etc. just like it’s supposed to.  We did end up using spaghetti noodles instead of rice noodles mainly because we’re trying to get stuff off the boat, not bring new stuff aboard.  This recipe is a definite keeper.

And here’s another keeper.  Our recipe for Mapo Dofu, or as we call it after years of devolution: Pork Mock

Pork Mock (Mapo Dofu or Pock Mark Ma’s Bean Curd)

  •  6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3″ piece of fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 1/4 cup dried tree ears, soaked in 1 cup hot water for 20 minutes then drained and chopped
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 pound hot pork sausage, cooked and drained
  • 2 one pound squares of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 ” cubes
  • 5 each green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, ground

Heat wok over high heat.  Add vegetable oil.  When hot, toss in garlic and ginger.  Stir-fry for 15 seconds, then add chili oil, chili paste. tree ears, water chestnuts and Szechuan peppercorns.  Stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Add tofu and stir-fry thoroughly, tossing to combine.  Add sugar, combining well.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add the sausage and stir.  Pour in soy sauce and water.  Bring to a boil.  Serve over hot Jasmine rice.

Serves 6

¡Buen Provecho!



About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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5 Responses to 6/30/2013 – Two very good uses for tofu

  1. Coyote says:

    Is there anyway to list your blogs by the dish being prepared? If not, then a cook book should be in preparation so we have a tool to pick and shop by. You could title it “From Rood Waste to Food Preparation” based upon your technical past 😉 Even if only 2% of your readers purchase one it would add up to 1,000 copies. I would buy a copy and I am not a cook by any tallent standard.

    • sryoder says:

      Hmmm… something to think about. Before I could make a cookbook of all the stuff on the blog I’d have to get permission from some of the folks at Serious Eats. Or, we could just tweak their recipes enough to make them ours I guess. Some of the other recipes, like the ones for Pork Mock, Cinnamon Rolls, Caldo de Res, etc. are already in a PDF cookbook that we made for our kids before we left them in the lurch and sailed off into the sunset. I’ll check with them and, if it’s OK with them maybe I can figure out how to make it downloadable. Other than that, I could maybe organize the recipes on a separate page on the blog site. It’d be interesting just to look back and see how many recipes are on the blog. All food for thought. Hmmm…..

  2. Coyote says:

    I think you will be very surprised at how many recipes you have posted, and even better how many you have already modified to your one pot needs on a boat. You have kind of “Yoderized” most of them for your special needs south of the border where what ever is available is a perfect substitute.

  3. Beverly says:

    What are tree ears? And when you use fresh ginger, do you shave/peel it? I have seen it in the stores but have never used it.

    • sryoder says:

      Tree ears are a fungus like a mushroom. You find them dried and in strips (they’re black) at Asian markets. Pretty easy to find. We’ve even found them in Mexico although I think that was probably a fluke.

      YOU’VE NEVER USED FRESH GINGER????? I can’t imagine! We peel it and then usually mince it. Some recipes call for grating it very finely. It’s very, very fibrous. You will not believe the amazingly delicious smells that will assail your nostrils when the garlic and ginger hit the hot oil. Can’t wit for you to give it a try.

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