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killer tofu

Everywhere you turn, someone is telling you that something you’re feeding your kids is bad for them. Which is fine if your kids are good eaters and you have a host of food options from which to choose. My kids? Left to their own devices, they each eat like twelve foods. Maybe more like six, if you take away the fruit.

One of the things they will both eat, however, is tofu. They will eat every variety of tofu, from silken to pressed. They will eat it in soup, baked, pan fried, steamed, whatever. And that’s good because tofu has nutritious stuff in it, like vegetable protein.

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Anyway, about the tofu. The latest word on tofu is that if you have boy children and they eat too much of it, they will grow breasts. Or something like that. Feel free to Google it—I haven’t, because, okay, I admit it, I’m scared of where “tofu man breasts” will lead me on Google Images. I’ve been afraid of Google Images ever since I Googled “genital warts.” Not that you believe me, but I don’t have genital warts and neither does Tom. I was just curious.

Besides, I have my own thoughts on the latest fear-mongering over tofu, and those thoughts are similar to my thoughts on MSG. Let me just point out that the Chinese have been around for a really long time. And I don’t know any Chinese people who complain about MSG headaches. I also don’t know any Chinese men with breasts.

Well, wait a minute. I know a few Chinese men with breasts, but they’re fat all the way around, and I’m sorry, if you’re a fat man you’re likely to have breasts regardless of your race or how much tofu you ingest. If you need further scientific evidence that it’s ok to eat tofu, I ate a shit ton of tofu growing up and I’m flat as a goddamned board.

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I guess what I’m really railing against is food hysteria in general. We all want to eat healthy. I try to make good choices, and make good choices for my children. But for me, food is not just about sustenance. Food is about taste, memory, pleasure, warmth, happiness. I enjoy nothing more than this loaf of bread with a crock of good butter. Eating bread reminds me of when I was a kid, tucked into my window seat on a rainy day, reading about Heidi and her grandpa and their goats and their tasty milk and cheese.

Nowadays, I feel guilty when I eat bread. And that guilt drives me to eat my croissants in the car like I’m some perv, or worse, to forgo the croissant entirely in favor of “healthy” pap like gummy, reconstituted granola. I dunno. I’m going to die of something, and I sort of doubt it’ll be the bread.**

So about that tofu. I like stir-fries because your kid can help with the washing and chopping. This delicious little stir-fry (you can sub shrimp if tofu is not your thing) makes my family happy. It’s a little spicy but even Tate will eat it, and shamefully, he thinks black pepper is spicy. Also, you might as well prepare your kids’ palates for the global Chinese domination that is coming.

Thanks to the sauce in this stir-fry, my kids will (accidentally) eat the mushrooms, water chestnuts, and green onions in the recipe. Shiitakes, not the benign kind of mushroom. Hot damn! I guess I’m ok risking two tiny sets of man boobs for that.

**I’m aware that certain people, like those with Celiac Disease, can actually die of bread consumption. I’m not making light of bread eating, except as it applies to me.

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MA PO TOFU

Adapted from “Martin Yan’s Chinatown Cooking”

Ingredients:

3 fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms (if dried, soak in warm water for 20 minutes), de-stemmed and chopped

6 oz. ground pork

1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon hot bean paste, black bean sauce, bean chili sauce, or chili garlic sauce (one of these should be available in the “ethnic foods” aisle—we’re getting ethnic, people!—of your grocery store. If you have a choice, go for the bean chili sauce)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/3 cup chopped water chestnuts

1 14-oz. package soft (or silken, or Japanese style) tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 green onions, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch lengths

2 teaspoons cornstarch (dry)

2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

1. Marinate the pork: stir the ground pork, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce together, let stand 10 minutes.

2. Make the sauce: stir 2 tablespoons soy sauce in a bowl with the sesame oil and one cup water. Set aside.

3. Chop the water chestnuts, mushrooms, green onions, throw them all in bowl and set aside. Get your chopped garlic ready. Make sure your tofu is cut and drained. You want everything chopped before you start a stir-fry, because the actual cooking takes like 4 minutes.

4. Heat a wok, skillet, or cast-iron pan over high heat until hot. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant, mybe 20 seconds. Add the pork, whatever bean/chili paste or sauce you are using, and stir fry until the pork is crumbly, 2-3 minutes.

5. Pour the sauce into the pan along with the cut vegetables (water chestnuts, mushrooms, green onions). Slide in your tofu, stir gently or swirl the pan to get the tofu coated with the sauce. Let simmer until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Don’t freak out if your soft tofu starts to break apart. Just be as gentle as you can.

6. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook gently, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens, about 1 minute. If you don’t care if your sauce is runny, you can omit this step.

7. Take off heat. Serve over hot brown rice!

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on MOMWHEARINGLOSS and commented:
    I get a kick out of yoonanimous – she’s got a wicked sense of humour and this looks like a wicket recipe.

    July 6, 2014
  2. I am a passionate carnivore so the word ‘tofu’ sends me running for steak. This however looks incredible. We’re having tofu for dinner!

    October 21, 2013
  3. nomibug #

    Yum, awesome! I love stumbling across new recipes, thanks 🙂

    October 15, 2013
  4. Oh I have to try this, thanks for sharing your recipe. 🙂 My husband loves tofu and my son has finally decided a little spice is going to be ok, not kill him…

    October 7, 2013
  5. By the way, I cannot eat tofu, or soybeans, or any soy protein isolate without getting extreme hot flashes…..This would seem to me that the estrogen it puts in your body is not something you want your boys to eat!! I have a theory that all young men who are vegans and eat tofu are non-aggressive sweethearts for a reason!! Just sayin’….

    October 7, 2013
  6. : My dad used to make me eat tofu against my will, so I have had this secret hatred for it. But I will try this for my girls, lol.

    October 3, 2013
    • i am fairly certain this is the attitude my children will have towards eggs later in life, due to my love of eggs

      October 3, 2013
      • : Hahhaa, my eldest also has an obsession with eggs. She will a boiled egg for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if she can. She destroys my egg supply on the weekend when we can stay in for breakfast.

        October 3, 2013
  7. Hey, I’ve made this same recipe before! It’s a good one.

    I’m with you on te good food:bad food thing. I think there’s some long term impact with people getting too much grain and sugar in their diets – talking over decades – that’s lead to a lot of these new funky diet pr

    October 3, 2013
    • Doh – new GOLD iPhone issue…

      …problems. The Chinese didn’t have issues with food because they mixed things up all the time – veggies proteins carbs in good portions and ratios.

      So my motto is to eat anything in moderation. It helps on days like today when I had a ton if the best Korean fried chicken the night before.

      October 3, 2013
      • korean fried chicken!!! exactly, about the moderation. and stop rubbing it in about the gold iphone. i haven’t even seen one in portland yet

        October 3, 2013
      • Isn’t your cousin or something here at U of M? Tell her to check out Seoul Street.. And the phone is magical

        October 3, 2013
      • she actually just transferred from mich to oregon. my husband grew up in ann arbor AND went to UM and knows all the korean food haunts, i will ask him about that one. he’s taking finn to the indiana game on the 19th

        October 3, 2013
  8. Kathryn #

    I am going to make this tomorrow night! My kids love tofu (they prefer firm) and pork so this should be a winner. Since I’ve been trying to grow boobs since reading Judy Blume books in elementary school, I’m going to up my tofu intake and see what happens. I’ll let you know.

    October 2, 2013
    • Well hello there KMW.

      “I must, I must, I must increase my bust”

      October 3, 2013
  9. I’m going to try this – love the post – actually if you look around at all the packaged shit in supermarkets, I’m sure there’s many more products out there that grow man’s breast and god knows what else!

    October 2, 2013
  10. Mary Eileen #

    Sounds awesome and easy. I’m guessing the pork is marinated in the 2 teaspoons of cornstarch you stated in the ingredient list. In the directions, you say 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. I don’t work much with cornstarch, but that seems like a lot?

    October 2, 2013
    • shit, yes, i will fix that. thank you for the catch. i posted this accidentally tonight and now i’m paying the price

      October 2, 2013

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