Japanese Style Mapo Tofu
Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐) is traditionally a Szechuan dish characterized by the tongue-numbing ma la flavors from the red chili oil and Szechuan peppercorns. Although Szechuan food is one of my favorite cuisines and I always jump at the opportunity to eat it, my husband is not a huge fan. Luckily, Japan has it's own variation of this dish that's milder in heat but just as flavorful.
First, prep the aromatics. Mince the ginger and garlic. Slice 2 of the scallions and mince the other. Then, mix the sauce ingredients.
Pre-boil tofu cubes, drain, and dry on a paper towel lined tray. By pre-boiling, you remove some of the moisture from the tofu so that it doesn't water down the dish. Pre-boiling can also soften the tofu if you're using something a little bit firmer.
Now heat up a wok over medium high heat and coat with oil. Add the aromatics and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Next, crank the heat up to high and add the ground beef. Break apart the meat with a wooden spoon and sauté until the color changes (around 3 minutes).
Mix the sauce again to incorporate the potato starch and add to the wok. Simmer for a minute until the sauce thickens. Add the tofu cubes and toss to coat. Let it simmer for another minute or two.
Add the sliced scallions and give it one last mix. Serve with rice and enjoy!