I often think to myself, while eating this dinner, 'I could eat this every night!' That's how much I love it. I love how the crispy ground pork plays off of the tender tofu (in you're in Portland, Oregon, always go for Ota Tofu!). I love the way the flavorful oil of the dish adheres to the noodles — how greasiness plays against cleanness, and both come through. I love how spicy I make it, but how the green onion keeps it fresh. I love every single thing about every single bite. Opposites are united and heightened. I probably eat this once a week. It's not only unbelievably delicious, it's also really easy.
I hope that you will also adapt this recipe to what you love. That's how I got here. This dish came about because I started making mapo tofu from different recipes, but over time adapted it to what I always have in my kitchen and what I know I love. And so this is kinda mapo tofu, and it is great!
Active time: : 30 minutes | Easy | Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons oil (canola, sunflower, safflower)
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch knob ginger, peeled and minced
3/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fermented chili paste (such as sambal olek) or to taste
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes (or to taste)
2 packages (20 ounces) Umi Organic fresh ramen noodles
1 package (16 ounces or 1 pound) medium tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 green onions, thinly sliced to make small rounds
1/4 cup cilantro, stemmed and diced (optional)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.
2. In a large wok or fry pan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic, ginger, and optional shallot. Fry until everything begins to turn golden and aromatic, about 30 seconds.
3 Raise the heat slightly, add ground pork, and mix thoroughly into garlic and ginger. Fry, stirring very occasionally, until all the pink is gone and the pork deepens in shade to a rich golden brown, about 6 minutes.
4. Season the pork with soy sauce, salt, chili paste, and chili flakes. Taste and make sure it's just a little bit saltier and spicier than you like. If it's exactly how you like it, add a little more salt and chili!
5. Fold in the cubes of tofu until evenly distributed. Continue to cook until tofu is just heated through, about 5 minutes. Fold in green onion and optional cilantro until evenly distributed. Drizzle over sesame oil.
6. Unless you have a very massive pot, it's best to cook the noodles in two batches so their mass doesn't drop the water temperature too much. Tease apart 1 package Umi ramen noodles and add to boiling water. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. The water should return to a boil within the first minute. Remove from water with tongs to strainer and drain well. Repeat with second package. Drain well. Divide between four bowls. Top with a heaping serving of pork and tofu. Serve with extra chili oil on the table. Encourage everyone to really mix the noodles and toppings together. Enjoy!