May 8, 2011

mother s day, son s day, mabo doufu day

it s Mother s Day today. well, in many parts of the world it is. i was brought up with the thought that Mother s Day is the 15th of august, but that s my catholic upbringing, and since i also went to international school, might as well celebrate today too. although, for the life of me, i don t know why every day isn t mother s day? LOL

i can t celebrate with my mother, but i can celebrate with my son. he s all grown up now, has the prettiest girlfriend, and i hope all will go well for him in his/their future. that s all a mom really wants for her kids, isn t it? that they grown up to be happy and contented people.

happy and contented is what he also was when he got this for dinner: mabo doufu. i tend to make it the Japanese way, although my ingredients list is probably not classic, the taste is there.

classic mabo doufu calls for minced pork, or a mixture of beef and pork. however, my son s girlfriend is vegetarian, so i tried making one with aubergine and shiitake and gave some more structure to the tofu by first coating it with some cornstarch and frying it. also added some coriander... and it all worked out a treat. i adapted a recipe by Harumi Kurihara, one of my favorite Japanese chefs.



400 gr firm tofu
2 small aubergines, cut into cubes
200 gr fresh shiitake mushrooms (or any other favorite mushroom), sliced
some soy sauce, pepper, sake and sesame oil
1 tablespoon of hot Korean style miso paste
1 tablespoon of dashi stock powder
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sake
1 tablespoon mirin
1 chilipepper, finely chopped
thumbsized piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 or 4 stalks of spring onion, finely chopped
sesame oil
small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
Szhechuan peppercorns, toasted and ground


1. wrap tofu in kitchen paper and leave in a sieve to remove excess water.
2. meanwhile, marinate the aubergine in a mixture of soy sauce, pepper, sake and sesame oil (i used about a tablespoon each of the wet ingredients and just added a pinch of pepper).
3. in a small bowl, mix together the miso paste, 100 ml water, dashi stock powder, soy sauce, sugar, sake and mirin. set aside.
4. cut 2/3 of the tofu into cubes, toss into some cornstarch and shallow-fry to get a light crust. leave to drain off some of the oil on some kitchen paper.
5. cut the rest of the tofu into cubes as well.
6. now fry the ginger, chilipepper and the garlic, add the marinated aubergine and the sliced shiitake and cook gently until soft.
7. add the miso sauce mixture.
8. leave to cook for another for a few minutes, then thicken with some cornstarch which has been diluted in some cold water
9. add the soft tofu and the fried tofu.
10. finish off with the ground Szechuan peppercorns, the chopped spring onions and coriander.

serve with plain cooked rice.

my son is more of a meat man, but i think his girlfriend and him will appreciate this one too. they better! haha...


  1. my mouth is truly mouthwatering at this!! i grew up eating mapo doufu (the original method tho) but i just know that this aubergine version would be even better! thanks for the recipe...will try this once i get me some korean spicy paste!

    btw, a very happy mothers day to you aiko! :)

  2. What a lovely dish. You've executed it perfectly. This is my first visit to your blog and I've spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back for more. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary