Tag Archives: mapo tofu

Hot n Spicy

31 Jul hot n spicy

It is the summer so why not take part of a family favorite event like a cook-off. For most people, that would probably mean a chili cook off, but for my family we held our first ever mapo dofu (tofu) cook-off. It was my husband’s brilliant idea of course. Mapo tofu is his favorite dish! It’s a popular Szechuan dish consisting of tofu, pork, and lots of chili spiciness. We invited our friends to this challenge and we had seven amazing entries. Most were family recipes – three of our entrants had the help of their mothers. Two aunties came – one used her own recipe, another found her recipe from an online source. One entry was a take-out order from a local Chinese restaurant. Then there was my husband’s dish.

We had two voting processes, the people’s choice and a judge panel, to decide the winners. The judges got to take the first bites and had a pretty difficult time deciding their favorites. Once they were done everyone else got to dig into the mapo tofu entries and start deciding their own favorites. It seemed to be a challenge, many people had to return for 3rd and 4th servings! It was fun hearing the comments: “That one’s the store bought one”, “Is that beef?”, “That’s spicy”, “The tofu in this one is soft”, “They’re all good”, “The one with peas is from the restaurant, there’s no peas in mapo tofu”.

The time came to announce the winners. The first was the people’s choice winner. “This tastes like beef” dish won out by one vote. That was my aunt’s recipe from the internet! Then the judges announced their favorite. It happened to be my husband’s dish! But because we were also hosting the event, we couldn’t take the prize, so the runner up became the winner. It was my friend Jen…and we learned her mom actually made the dish. One of the reasons one of the judges didn’t give Jen’s dish first prize was because it wasn’t spicy enough. Jen said her mom could have made it more spicy but was afraid if she made it any more spicy than she did that no one would eat it!

We had a lot of fun and our stomachs were very happy. I knew my husband’s dish was good because it was the only dish I could eat (everyone else’s used soy sauce). Once he allows me to post the recipe I will do so – it’s wheat-free!