Bento 96: Candy corn mapo tofu
Whoa, I’ve just realized that I’m up to Bento 96 already!! Looking back to January and especially my first bento (cringe) I am pleasantly suprised that I have kept up with my bento making for such a long time. I am having so much fun putting my food together, learning new recipes and meeting new like-minded bento lovers – which definately helped in keeping my short attention span.
Today’s lunch featured one of my comfort dishes – mapo tofu! When I lived in San Francisco many moons ago at the doorsteps of the famed Chinatown, I used to walk to the neighbourhood restaurants and order the Mapo tofu special nearly weekly. It would come with a mini starter of two gyozas, a pileful of steaming white jasmine rice and the mapo tofu. At $5 for lunch, it’s a pretty good deal :). With the weather rapidly descending, it was time to pull my mapo tofu recipe out again; simple, delicious and cheap. Mapo tofu is also a favourite in the ‘chuka’ cuisine- Chinese inspired Japanese dishes.
But of course, I’ve promised you a week of Halloween, and a week of Halloween you will get! I placed some spinach leaves atop the white rice, and cut some candy corn out from two different coloured cheeses. Nori facial features turned some dual-colored cheese so cute candy corns! I would stick them on another similar sized cheese if I do this again – three separate parts of cheese became pretty hard to handle. They are laid on a bed of spinach for color contrast. I included a spinach tamagoyaki and some peapods and baby sweetcorn for additional protein and nutrition.
This went in the lock-and-lock as I can just give it a whizz in the microwave – and therefore no fruit as well. Yay for warm lunches in winter!!
Recipe for mapo tofu (chinese-styled)
1 onion, sliced
I shallot & 1 clove garlic, minced
300g minced pork
1 tbs soya sauce
4 sliced mushrooms
2 stalk cubed celery – optional
cubed tofu – 1 block
4 tbs toban jan – chinese chilli bean paste
1 tsp cornflour – dilluted in 1/2 cup water
Sautee onion, garlic and shallot
Add toban jan, saute until fragant and add mince
Sautee for 5-10 minutes until the meat is cooked
Add in mushrooms and celery, and cook for another 5 minutes
Add dilluted cornflour and slowly stir in cubed tofu.
Let it simmer for a few minutes, serve it up with freshly steamed rice