Cheat's mapo tofu

Melissa Leong's mapo tofu.
Melissa Leong's mapo tofu. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

There are more complex ways to make Chinese classic mapo tofu, but for a quick, midweek version, all you need is a jar of mushroom XO (I found mine at my local Coles, but any Asian grocer will sell it). One jar is just $2, and is an action-packed flavour bomb that makes for a speedy meal, minus the fuss. This recipe comes in at $3.50 per serve.

Ingredients

2 cups jasmine rice, thoroughly washed

1 tbsp vegetable oil

500g pork mince

½ jar mushroom XO (or you can also use the regular kind)

salt

1 tsp cornflour, dissolved in a dash of water

1 300g block momen (or silken firm) tofu, carefully cubed

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks

3 spring onions, finely sliced

Method

1. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. In a deep frying pan or pot on medium/high heat, heat the vegetable oil, then brown the mince. Add the XO sauce and stir through to combine. Add about half a cup of water to loosen the mixture, then season to taste with salt (you can use a little soy if you have that on hand). While simmering, pour in the cornflour/water mixture, and stir to combine, and allow the sauce to thicken.

2. When you are happy with how it is tasting, gently place the tofu cubes in, and carefully ladle some of the sauce over the top, or jiggle the pan, to help the tofu settle and absorb the sauce. Simmer for a further five minutes, then remove from heat.

3. Garnish with ginger and spring onions, and serve with jasmine rice.

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