Mabo fair : aubergine and tofu


There exist mabo tofu and mabo aubergine, two sister Chinese dishes widely adopted in Japan. Today they are on the the same meal.


My lunch tray. Yes, that was delicious and filling.


The base is the same : onion, garlic, ginger, Sichuan pepper and azuki beans. After simmering, I add miso, paprika and I pass the mixer. I’ve added slices of green hot chili.


Aubergines steamed, then stir-fried with garlic. I’ve added the sauce and more paprika, water and reheated. On the finished, a tbs of fragrant sesame oil and a few roasted sesame seeds.


To the rest of the sauce, I’ve added green sweet chilis, a little more Sichuan pepper, then cubed silky tofu.


Served with rice of course. It’s Thai jasmine rice with a little sticky black rice.


Veggie side : okra sprouts, topped with zucchini (grated, mixed with salt and turmeric, let 1 hour).



Tofu : tout !

Reblog from the “tofu page”

It’s compilation on the tofu topic…I add data regularly.

3 main tofu textures :

You have Japanese tofu that is :
kinu-dofu, silky tofu
momen-dofu, cotton tofu (translated as *firm tofu* in English)
Both are soft and watery. The first is very soft like egg pudding, the second is soft like starch pudding.
Really firm and dry tofu, the one that has a texture closer to meat is popular in China. It’s uncommon in Japan, except ….

Bottom line : If you like firm tofu…

Read more (click here)

Spicing up the Chuka standards, mabo tofu and yakisoba

Chuka, is Chinese cuisine in Japan. These 2 dishes are so boringly classic that you always want to make variations.
Beware : it’s hot today ! On the table too.

Momen tofu, cotton tofu. It’s squeezed in cotton. The mark of the fabric is visible. It’s a firm tofu. I just let it on a plate and excess water goes out (it’s possible to add a second plate + something heavy on top).

That’s a new variation of mabo tofu.
-garlic, onions, Chinese miso, chili pepper. Stir-fried.
-plus tomato paste and cooked kabocha skin. Simmered.
-plus a garam masala mix of Indian spices
-plus the water squeezed tofu

It has a Singapore curry taste. That must be the effect of black beans from miso combined with Indian spices.

home-made eggs noodles

A shahan, fried noodles. Very simple : oil, garlic, lettuce, soy sauce. Toppings are negi and shichimi togarashi (7 spice mix) plus a few drops of fragrant sesame oil.
PLUS ichimi togarashi (=pure hot chili flakes).
The truth is I’ve confused the pure chili and the mix.

So, I’ve ended with 2 very spicy dishes. And I’ve love them to the point of licking the chopsticks.

Creamy’n silky vegan mabo tofu, and invasion

The crowd under the cherry trees. What you can’t see is the smell. That skanks. The sakura flowers have no perfume. The people don’t have poor personal hygiene. That skanks cheap beer. Like if a truck had passed to water the path with asahi a few minutes before.

People picnic on sheets that look like garbage bags… because when they live, it is a gomi darake (garbage dump), hanami, then hanagomi. For that, many Japanese have a terrible hygiene. I have to look for desert places from now…

Queues at the stands. The taiyaki sweets are not so good. It’s the same stand, but a different person and they try to go quicker : undercooked. Meh.

Azuki bean mabo sauce. A generous spoon of nerigoma (tahini) gives the creaminess.

Mabo tofu.
With silky tofu, steamed separately. On top raw ginger and negi onions.

Quick tsukemono : sticks of daikon radish, salt, sansho.

It’s a bit cold to sit on the ground at night. If you are not drun.. rehydrated with lots of beer, you don’t stay. I don’t drink. Well, drinks in small amounts, sure, but cans of bread yeast ? No, no. I’m a party pooper ? Oh yeah.

Direction : home. For a hot dinner.

Tofu and faux tofu

It’s compilation on the tofu topic…

Tofu is soy milk curded with nigari. But some other products not based on soy milk are called tofu because of their texture and appearance.
Tofu ? dofu ? toufu ? doufu ? The only proper spelling is 豆腐. It’s a matter of transcription. The “t” tends to become a “d” in second part of words in Japanese. And in Chinese it’s written “d” and you read “t”. And the “o” is long.

Choosing tofu :

There are huge differences of quality. It can be delicious or absolutely terrible. I wouldn’t want to eat again in this life time all the weirdly packaged tofus I have eaten in Europe and North-America. Maybe I had bad luck. Also in the US, the soy is GMO.

The second thing is you have to buy the right type.
Most Westerners don’t really understand the different types, and I’ve been there too. So maybe this can help. It’s a simplification, but start here :

3 main tofu textures :

You have Japanese tofu that is :
kinu-dofu, silky tofu
momen-dofu, cotton tofu (translated as *firm tofu* in English)
Both are soft and watery. The first is very soft like egg pudding, the second is soft like starch pudding.
Really firm and dry tofu, the one that has a texture closer to meat is popular in China. It’s uncommon in Japan, except in Okinawa, were Japanese and Chinese traditions cross their path. So here it is called 島豆腐 shima tofu, “island tofu“, and in Osaka, I have to buy in “ethnic stores”.
The 3 are made with different recipes.

Bottom line : If you like soft tofu, buy it from a Japanese maker (well, a maker making ingredients for Japanese cuisine as of course it’s not a question of nationality). If you like firm tofu, buy it from a Chinese or an Okinawan maker. Other Asian countries tend to make the firm varieties traditionally.

Gourmande’s home-made tofu :

Basic recipe :
ultra fresh torori tofu (from soy milk and nigari)

zaru-dofu (basket tofu)

Island tofu (very firm tofu)

Gourmande’s home-made faux tofu

tamago dofu (egg tofu)

home-made sesame tofu (gomadofu)

yellow tofu or Shan tofu (from chick pea)

edamame tofu (from green soy beans)

Tofu bought in Osaka :

It’s a small sample. I can find many sorts. There are 3 tofu makers just in my street…

kinu-dofu (silky tofu)

momen-dofu (cotton tofu)

Okinawan tofu (super hard)

Yuzu tofu (citrus flavor)

koya-dofu (freeze dry tofu)

fresh yuba (sheets of tofu)

abura-age (usu-age type, fried sheets of tofu)

goma dofu (sesame flavored soy milk tofu)

goma dofu (sesame tofu, not a real tofu)


dengaku (tofu skewers)

yudofu (Kyoto boiled tofu, hot pot)

mabo dofu (Sichuan style, several recipes)

age-dofu (fried tofu)

inari sushi (in abura age pockets)

champuru (Okinawan tofu with scramble egg)

chigae (Korean spicy tofu soup)

tofu steaks

u no hana (tofu fibers in tabouleh)

Tofu can also be an ingredient for desserts.

Green mabo tofu with fresh sansho peppercorns

A green seasonal variation of the Chinese classic tofu dish.

mabo tofu recipe

vegan mabo tofu

Sansho is the main flavor. It is the Japanese Sichuan pepper. The plant is very similar but used differently from the standard Chinese cuisine. I mean I have seen them gather green sansho and cook it in the South of China, but over the world other places only the dry mature (pink) Sichuan peppercorns are known. So this recipe might be close to the original version. More about it :

Sansho, la saveur boisee de la cuisine japonaise. (The wood flavor in Japanese cuisine.)

The sauce, longly simmered is made of the classic onion, garlic, ginger trio, then chicken and soy sauce.

Negi leeks and more sansho peppercorn for the green finishing.

A great meal. What can I tell ?
The taste of sansho is distinctive. Next time you pass in an Asian grocery get a small bin of powdered dry sansho. You can try the lemony flavor. But the raw green version has so much more. It’s slightly bitter, it sparkles he tongue like mini-nettles. Special.

I was talking with a reader of this blog, that has eaten a few of my dishes, and of course knows most ingrediens. She liked many photos presenting food we only have in Osaka, to people over the word. Macro shots show lots of details, the shapes, colors. I can tell you the process of recipe. “But people don’t know the taste as they can’t eat any.”.

I know.

It’s sad, but often, you guys don’t know how delicious it is. And if that was bad, and only looking good, you couldn’t detect the scam… Well, I post only dishes that my tastebuds like, nothing objectively bad. Still not everything is for every mouth.

What can be done ?

mabo tofu (via Colorfood Daidokoro Gourmande in Osaka)

Last year…

mabo tofu Cal (without the rice) 378.8 F 23.2g C 19.2g P 25.8g Mabo Tofu (quick recipe) 1 serving 50 ground pork meat 150 g tofu fresh ginger garlic 1/2 onion dried hot chili 10g Chinese sauce with bean and chili oil Optional toppings : 1 red sweet pepper (or other veggies) a few drops of dark sesame oil Sichuan pepper minced leek white sliced spring onion minced raw ginger Put the block of tofu on a plate, top it with another plate and load it with any ob … Read More

via Colorfood Daidokoro Gourmande in Osaka