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Mabo Dofu

2 Tbsps salad oil
300 g meaty mushrooms such as fresh shiitake, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp salted black beans, soaked then finely chopped
1 or 2 tsp Chinese chili paste
1 tsp sweet miso paste, optional
180 cc stock/mushroom water
1 block cotton tofu, well pressed and cut into 1.5-cm cubes
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1 Tbsp sake/sherry
1 Tbsp soy sauce
salt, optional
pepper, optional
MSG, optional
2 Tbsps onion, finely chopped
A little corn flour or potato starch mixed into water
1 tsp Chinese sesame oil, for garnish

Heat wok over high heat until blue smoke rises from it, and add
oil (it's easiest to add too much oil, swirl it around to cover
the surface, then pour out excess). Add mushrooms and stir-fry over
high heat until they've shrunk a bit, add garlic and black beans,
fry lightly.

Add toubanjian and tienmenjian, keep stir-frying while drizzling
a little more oil down the sides of the wok to prevent burning.

Add stock, bring to boil, add tofu and chili pepper, let boil
vigorously for a couple of minutes. Add sake and soy sauce, taste
and season with salt/pepper/MSG <bleah> if necessary, simmer for
2-3 minutes then mix in the onion. Raise heat slightly, add thickener
in water, and stir well to thicken. Raise heat further and boil
vigorously for a minute or so while constantly swirling the wok.

Just before serving, drizzle the sesame oil over to garnish.


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