My partner asked me to cook tonight. There was a kilo pork mince and a packet of fresh tofu in the fridge. The first thing that came to mind was a Sichuan style “mapo tofu“, which I had previously posted a recipe. That was what I was planning to made until I started preparing my ingredients in my tiny kitchen with limited bench space.
I used what I have got in the kitchen cabinet – dried red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, sichuan peppercorn, garlic, ginger, shallot, spring onions, kaffir lime leaf and a small can of green peas. With the list of ingredients in my mind, I slowly imagine the combination of flavours that I like to taste in the dish. Finally I decided on two dishes, rather than one. And, to create a balance between those two dishes. A pork mince dish with a strong and spicy flavour matched with a mild flavoured steamed tofu dish.
1. Toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and sichuan peppercorn in a dry pan (a teaspoon each)
2. Grind the toasted spices and set aside
3. Crush 5 dried red chillies into flakes, and set aside
4. Chop 2 cloves garlic and a small piece ginger finely
5. Finely slice 1 small French shallot
1. Heat some cooking oil in a hot wok
2. Toss in pork mince. Stir fry until pork is almost cooked. Remove and set aside
3. Add a bit more oil in the hot wok. Toss in the chopped garlic and ginger. Stir fry for 2 minutes
4. Add shallots. Conitnue to stir fry for another 2 minutes
5. Toss in the precooked pork mince. Mix through with the other ingredients and contnue to stir fry for 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce and 2 teaspoons dark caramalised sauce. Continue to sitr fry another 5 minutes. Add cooked peas, salt and sugar to taste, and chopped spring onions. Garnish with dried shallots.
1. In a steamer, add sufficient water for steaming. Place fresh tofu on a flat stainless steel shallow tray. Then, lay on top of the steamer and cover the lid. Bring the water to boil, then lower the heat to steam slowly for 10 minutes
2. In a small pan, mix 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 2 tablespoons Xiao Xing Cooking Wine, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce with the other ingredients of French shallots, spring onions, chilli and kaffir lime leaf. Heat the mixture of sauces and ingredients in low heat for 2 minutes
3. Pour the mixture over the tofu, then garnish with some dried shallots and a light sprinkle of ground white pepper
Serve both dishes with a bowl of steamed rice.