To-Ban Chilli Bean Pork with Aubergine and Tofu

To-ban chilli bean paste is one of those flavours that once you've tried it, you won't forget it. It's used in many popular Chinese dishes such as ma po tofu, four season fried beans, and Szechuan double cooked pork.

One dish that is cooked repeatedly in my kitchen is ma po tofu, but my version of it has more meat to tofu ratio. Traditionally, ma po tofu consist mainly of tofu, with a small amount of pork mince to give it some substance but since I don't really want to open a pack of pork mince and only use a tiny bit, I always just use the whole packet.  

Of course, tofu and chilli bean paste are the key ingredients to this dish, both of which you can find easily in the Chinese supermarkets or Tesco's, and I know the Mori-nu silken tofu is also on sale at Sainsbury's too. This recipe can be done in less than 30 minutes and serves 4.

 Gather your ingredients.

 Chop the garlic and aubergine.

 Cube the tofu into 2cm pieces.

 Fry the garlic with pork mince and add a few dashes of white pepper and Shaoxing wine.

Add in the pre-cooked aubergine, condiments and water. Stir well. 

Add in the tofu last.

500g pack of pork mince
1 pack of Mori-nu silken tofu, firm
1 small aubergine
4 cloves garlic
1.5 tbsp chilli bean paste
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
Few dashes white pepper
1/2 cup of water
1 tbsp of cornflour mixed with a little water
5 tbsp oil

1. Roughly chop the garlic and dice the aubergine into small pieces
2. Carefully take the tofu out of the packet and lay flat on a chopping board. Dice into 2cm pieces
3. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a pan and add in aubergines, fry for 5 minutes until it starts to soften, then plate up and put to one side
4. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the pan and when the oil is hot, add in the garlic then the pork mince. Sprinkles the white pepper and Shaoxing wine all over the pork mince, then break up the mince and fry until half cooked
5. Add the pre-cooked aubergine back into the pan, then add in the chilli bean paste, oyster sauce and soya sauce. Give it a good stir then throw in half a cup of water to create the sauce
6. Once the pork is cooked through, add the tofu and let it simmer for 3-5 minutes. Take care not to mix too much as the tofu will break easily
7. Add in the cornflour mixture to thicken the sauce. Stir well, take off heat and serve with rice

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