All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Tom cooks 5: Mabodofu (mapo spicy tofu)

He said, "You can make it."
Of course I can. But if I do, he won't learn a thing.
A friend once told me about how frustrating it is to teach her teenage kid how to prepare food, as she knows she can do it much faster and more efficiently without a lot of waste. Patience, I thought to myself.

So Tom finally made up his mind to cook mabodofu without my help -- at the beginning, anyway -- then changed his mind and wanted me to tell him what to do next.

"One and a half tablespoon of sugar," I said.
What I see next is Tom holding a teaspoon.
He rationalized that one and a half tablespoon of sugar is too much.
I instantly rejected his idea. You should more or less follow the recipe at least once in order to be able to make the connection between what goes in and how a dish turns out. Besides, I want to eat what I like.

Tom is finally getting used to the idea of finely chopping green onions, although actual performance is a separate issue.
This dish is forgiving in that regard, because green onions are sauteed with garlic and ginger. As long as he chops them up relatively small, it should work.

Once all ingredients are ready, the rest went smoothly … relatively.
He dumped cut tofu in the pot and stirred it vigorously (both actions make tofu crumble). He also directly dumped the potato starch + water mixture into the bubbling pot (swirling into pot ensures even distribution).

The outcome was great.

Next time, perhaps he can make it all by himself ... right, Tom?

Recipe for Tom: mabodofu (mapo spicy tofu)

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