[WEBCAST] Mapo Tofu Cook-Along With Junzi Kitchen Chef Lucas SinVIEW EVENT DETAILS
What is mapo tofu? Always delicious but always a controversial dish: What kind of tofu to use? Pork or beef (or vegetarian)? Corn starch or not? The history is just as exciting, such as the origin of the name, the story of doubanjiang (chili bean paste), and the way Sichuan cooking has become popular in the last decade.
“Ma” for “crater face,” “po” for “old woman,” and tofu – a key ingredient, full of protein, calcium, and 2000 years of history. During the 1800's Qing Dynasty, a couple with the surname Chen ran a small restaurant in North Chengdu, and Mrs. Chen — who had a pock-marked face — cooked tofu in a unique way. Her spicy chili and bean sauce was numbing, spicy, hot, fresh, tender, aromatic, and flack all at the same time. Over the years, her signature dish has spread all over the world. Mapo tofu adapted into each countries’ cultural tastes. In Japan, mapo tofu became mabo dofu with a milder taste and a version with eggplant instead of tofu called mabo nasu was created. In Korea, it became known as mapa dubu, made of Korean hot pepper paste and flakes instead of Sichuan peppercorns. And in an American twist, the dish is served with avocado. All these variations, make mapo tofu the perfect symbol of a globalized and interconnected world.
Surprisingly, the key ingredient of the dish, the Sichuan peppercorn was banned in the U.S. until 2005.
Despite the relatively simple sounding nature of the dish, mapo tofu tests the skills of chefs to their limits, generating a space for further discussion of Chinese heritage, culture, and cuisine. Join Asia Society and Matt Gross, in a guided cooking session with Chef Lucas Sin, to learn to cook your own mapo tofu.
In preparation for the cook along, please have the following ingredients ready:
Mapo Tofu/Mabo Dofu by Lucas Sin
12 oz tofu, cut into cubes (soft tofu preferred, but firm is fine too)
1/2 pound pork, beef, or mushrooms minced*
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ginger, minced*
2 scallions or 1/2 medium onion
2 tablespoon doubanjiang or miso, or a combination
2 tablespoon chili oil*
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, washed and soaked*
1/2 cup stock or bone broth
2 tablespoon mirin or Shaoxing wine.
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn or sansho, ground*
3 scallions or Chinese chives, sliced fine*
Boil tofu in salted water for 10 min. Carefully drain in a colander and set aside.
Over high heat, heat oil in a hot pan and scallions or onions. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add minced meat. Fry until brown and add garlic, fermented black beans, and doubanjiang and stir-fry until fragrant. Deglaze with wine or mirin.
Turn down to medium heat and add stock or bone broth. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Make a slurry with cornstarch and water. Add boiled tofu to mix and mix until combined. Thicken sauce with the cornstarch slurry to desired consistency.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add scallions or chives and Sichuan peppercorn or sansho to garnish. Serve immediately with warm rice.
Lucas Sin opened his first restaurant when he was 16, in an abandoned newspaper factory in his hometown of Hong Kong. Despite spending his Yale undergraduate years in the Cognitive Science and English departments, Lucas spent his weekends running restaurants out of his dorm, known as Y Pop-up. He backpacked and cooked his way through Japan, before settling at Kikunoi Honten in Kyoto. He’s also spent time at Modernist Cuisine in Seattle and Michelin-starred kitchens in Hong Kong and New York. Lucas was included in Eater's Young Guns Class for 2019 and Forbes' 30 Under 30 - Food & Drink for 2020.
A veteran travel and food writer, Matt Gross has criss-crossed the world for dozens of publications, covering the cuisines of Sichuan and Taiwan for Saveur, Malaysia and Cambodia for the New York Times, and Vietnam for Food & Wine. He’s currently producing the pilot for Hot Pursuit, a series about the history of chili peppers, based on a feature he wrote for Airbnb Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.
Yoshie Ito is the Assistant Director of Global Initiatives at the Asia Society. Prior to joining the Asia Society, Ms. Ito held positions around the world as investment analyst and investor relations director. She was educated in Japan, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.A., receiving a classical Japanese education from the Japanese Lyceum in Mexico City. She holds a master’s degree in Finance and Investment from the University of Exeter, and a second master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Yale University.
Asia Society celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May and beyond — join us for programs, interviews, and content that celebrate the influence of Asian Pacific Americans on culture, politics, and society.
For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/new-york/events/webcast-mapo-tofu-cook-along-junzi-kitchen-chef-lucas-sin For event details visit https://asiasociety.org/new-york/events/webcast-mapo-tofu-cook-along-junzi-kitchen-chef-lucas-sin