Plated Subscription Box Review: Spicy Mapo Tofu with Crispy Mushrooms, Scallions, and Rice

posted in: Entrées, Product Reviews | 0

Welcome back to our review of Plated! If you want to know more about Plated in general, click on over to my Plated Unboxing and Pricing post to get the run down.

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Next up on the menu was the Spicy Mapo Tofu with Crispy Mushrooms, Scallions, and Rice. This was actually the first vegetarian option we ordered since I LOVE mapo tofu and thought it would be nice to try out some of their non-meat options. Mapo tofu is traditionally made with ground pork but this recipe subs in mushrooms instead for a vegetarian twist.

If you want to make this recipe at home, here is what you’ll need:

  • ¾ cup basmati rice
  • 1 package tofu
  • ½ teaspoon vegetable base (you can also use 1 cup of vegetable broth)
  • 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 scallions, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp  ginger
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon cracked Sichuan peppercorns
  • ½ tablespoon doubanjiang chile paste

Step 1: In a small pot, bring rice, 1¼ cups water, and a pinch salt to a boil over high heat. Stir once, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and set aside.

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Step 2: Prep all of your vegetables and sauces. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Discard stems and cut caps into ¼-inch dice. Rinse scallions, trim and discard roots, and thinly slice, keeping white and light green parts separate from dark greens. Mince garlic. Trim and discard skin of ginger and mince. In a small bowl, stir together mirin, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1½ tbsp of sesame oil to make sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together vegetable base with 1 cup water.

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As a side note, I really liked the packaging on the tofu so I had to take a picture to share.

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And check out these cute little soy sauce packets!!

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Step 3: Remove tofu from packaging, discard liquid, and place on a plate sandwiched between 2 clean kitchen or paper towels. Place a small pan or another heavy object on top (like a heavy cast iron skillet), and set aside to drain.

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Step 4: Halve tofu horizontally and cut into 1-inch cubes. Heat 1 tbsp of sesame oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Season tofu with salt. When oil is shimmering, add tofu in a single layer. Sear until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

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Step 5: In the same pan, add mushrooms to pan from tofu over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt and Sichuan peppercorns and cook until mushrooms have wilted and have started to crisp up, about 7 minutes.

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Step 6: Add doubanjiang chile paste, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add tofu and sauce and toss to combine until warmed through.

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Step 7: Add vegetable base mixture to pan with tofu. Bring to a simmer, then cook until reduced until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.

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Divide rice evenly between 2 bowls. Ladle over mapo tofu, garnish with scallion dark greens, and serve.

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The verdict: Although this recipe contained no meat, Selma and I actually really liked the flavors. The mushrooms were fragrant and delicious and the Sichuan peppercorns really made this dish pop. That being said, I wouldn’t really consider this mapo tofu (or any mapo tofu I’ve ever had). The sauce was much thinner than I would have liked and it just didn’t have that spicy chili flavor that I know and love. Nevertheless, this was a light and healthy vegetarian option that I can see us making again in the future.

As with all of these types of subscription services, a portion of the end result depends on the preparation and execution of the dish by non-professional chefs. But after all is said and done, I think we did a pretty good job following the directions outlined in the recipe card. Some of the cooking times may be off by a few minutes and but if you stick with the recipe suggestions and use a little common sense, you should be in the clear. Also, some of the ingredient measurements may have been modified so you can follow along at home (i.e. 1 packet = ~1 tbsp).

If you’re looking to try Plated, you can use this referral link to get 2 free plates on your first order!

And with that, thanks for reading and stay posted for our next plated meal review!

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