Cuisine - - FIONA SMITH -

One of my all-time favourite dishes, mapo tofu is al­ready a great ex­am­ple of a ‘less meat’ dish bal­anced with tofu. I like to cut that amount down even fur­ther us­ing lots of chopped mush­rooms for max­i­mum taste and tex­ture. I am us­ing lean venison mince, but you could sub­sti­tute any type of mince.

3 ta­ble­spoons peanut oil

1 tea­spoon Sichuan pep­per­corns, ground 150g venison mince

300g mush­rooms, finely chopped

3 cloves gar­lic, crushed

5cm piece gin­ger, grated

2-3 ta­ble­spoons chilli bean sauce

(I use Lee Kum Kee brand Toban Djan) 1 ta­ble­spoon corn­flour

1 ta­ble­spoon soy sauce

300g silken tofu, cut into 1cm cubes chopped spring onion or co­rian­der to serve

Heat 1 ta­ble­spoon of the oil in a wok over a medium-high heat. Add the Sichuan pep­per­corns and cook for about 30 sec­onds un­til fra­grant, add the venison and stir fry un­til browned, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Heat the re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons oil and add the mush­rooms and a sprin­kle of salt. Stir fry for 5 minutes. Add the gar­lic, gin­ger and chilli sauce and cook for 1 minute.

Com­bine the corn­flour with 2 ta­ble­spoons of cold wa­ter and add to the wok along with 1¼ cups more wa­ter and the soy sauce and bring to a sim­mer. Add the mince back along with the tofu. Gently sim­mer for 10 minutes, try­ing not to break up the tofu too much. Serve scat­tered with chopped spring onion or co­rian­der with rice and steamed greens.

There are so many more ways of re­duc­ing your meat in­take and up­ping the plant-based pro­teins, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing flavour.

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