I love tofu, probably because I grew up eating it. It’s fairly standard in Chinese cuisine and when I was a kid, we ate it at least twice a week for dinner. I know a lot of people who don’t like the taste or texture, but for me, it’s incredibly comforting and delicious.
Tofu also happens to be my brother’s favourite food. He used to beg my mom to make it when we were kids. He didn’t care how it was cooked, he just couldn’t get enough. We used to joke about how he would end up marrying a tofu maker. I don’t think any artisanal tofu makers still exist so it’s a good thing my brother wasn’t set on finding a tofu-master. It’s also a good thing that my sister-in-law loves tofu too.
One of my favourite ways of eating tofu is deep-fried. I love the contrast between the crispy outsides and creamy soft insides. These tofu waffles are pretty close to regular deep-fried tofu. The little waffle indentations give a lot of crispy edges which I love.
You might be curious about how I decided to waffle tofu. I don’t have much of a story though. One day, I was looking in the fridge and saw half a block of tofu forlornly sitting in a pool of tofu juice. I took a look a my new waffle maker and presto: tofu waffles! I ate the first waffle with a drizzle of sriracha and hoisin and then my mind was off and running with the possibilities of tofu waffle recipes.
Mapo tofu is one of my favourite dishes to cook for people who don’t like tofu. It’s not that it masks the flavour of tofu, it’s just that tofu is the perfect blank slate for the spicy pork sauce. If you’re not a fan of tofu, try the spicy pork sauce anyway – it’s super addictive on rice.
Mapo Tofu Waffles adapted from Gourmet via epicurious.com
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 block soft or medium tofu, cut in half and then cut lengthwise into 4, so you have 8 pieces
Stir together broth, bean paste, and soy sauce. Set aside.
Heat a bit of oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and cook, breaking up into small pieces. When no longer pink, add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes. Add broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until thick and glossy, about a minute. Turn off the heat, and stir in the sesame oil and Sichuan peppercorn powder. Serve over the tofu waffles and sprinkle with green onions.
Heat your waffle maker up. Brush with oil and place tofu into the waffle maker. Close gently, but do not press down. As the tofu heats up, it will gently take on a waffle shape. It’s done when it is golden and crispy. Enjoy with the mapo pork.