Cooking With Vanilla

Hey folks, it’s the last weekend of the month so it’s time for another recipe. This one, however, is a little different to most.

It’s an adaptation of something I found in Janet Sawyer’s vanilla cookbook, kept mild and made vegetarian (vegan even) to suit the relatives I’m eating with. Yet, for those who do want it, I’ll be giving instructions on how to sub the meat back in.

The tofu may add texture to the dish and it’s an unusual but lovely vanilla curry either way but, for those who do eat it, chicken would most definitely help to bring the flavours together and give them a base on which to build.

Regardless of which version you choose to make, though, I’ve made a few other tweaks to ensure that you get the best possible flavour from the curry, while also highlighting a more interesting chilli.

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Mapo Tofu

Welcome back everyone, and welcome to the new year. The chinese new year!

To celebrate, I’ve been doing some chinese cooking and can offer you not one, not two, but three versions of my favourite oriental dish:

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Mapo Tofu. A dish that, despite its vegan-sounding name, is one of the most highly meaty-tasting main courses in china. Yet there’s actually only a very small amount meat in it.

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Regular Mapo Tofu

Hey there heat eaters! Today we’re making one of my favourite chinese dishes, Mapo Tofu.

Before we jump right into the recipe, however, I’d like to give you the opportunity to read up on the backstory to this dish and pick which of my three versions you’d prefer from my overview here.

This particular version is my “basic” one. A nice, medium heat and only minimally adapted from the recipes you might find were you to turn on a cooking show in China’s Szechuan province.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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Vegetarian Mapo Tofu

Hey there heat eaters! Today we’re making one of my favourite chinese dishes, Mapo Tofu.

Before we jump right into the recipe, however, I’d like to give you the opportunity to read up on the backstory to this dish and pick which of my three versions you’d prefer from my overview here.

This particular version is my vegetarian one as, despite its tofu content, most recipes for this dish don’t actual cater to the vegetarian diet. Most restaurants will insist on using ground pork but, as one particular place in London (sorry I don’t recall the name) proved to me, it’s not really necessary. Properly made Mapo Tofu gets its strong, meaty flavour from its signature fermented bean paste more than any actual meat.

So, in honour of that one restaurant and for the benefit of all you vegetarians out there, here’s my take on a meat free Mapo Tofu.

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Anime Style Mapo Tofu

Hey there heat eaters! Today we’re making one of my favourite chinese dishes, Mapo Tofu.

Before we jump right into the recipe, however, I’d like to give you the opportunity to read up on the backstory to this dish and pick which of my three versions you’d prefer from my overview here.

This particular version is my anime inspired one. A powerful version with a little more depth of flavour to compliment its high heat.

The particular anime that inspired this recipe is the one that first introduced me to the dish, Angel Beats, in which only one small girl is actually capable of finishing it and it plays a small but surprisingly important role in the story.

Here’s what it looks like in the show:

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