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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Mapo Tofu Ramen

Mapo Tofu Ramen 1

Mapo Tofu Ramen is one of those curious fusion dishes that takes a dish of Chinese origin, in this case Ma Po Doufu (Chinese Pockmarked Old Lady's Tofu), as a topping for traditional Japanese ramen.

On the other hand, one could argue the whole dish is technically Chinese, as Japanese ramen noodles were Chinese in origin. Ramen has been such a part of Japanese cuisine that no one knows exactly when the noodles made their way over from China, but several theories about the name can give a hint to its origins. According to Wikipedia, one theory is that ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of lamian (Chinese hand-pulled noodles). Another, is that the word ramen came from lomien. Lomien. Ramen.

In any case, adding the spicy tofu and ground meat mixture atop ramen noodles ended up with a tasty new dish. Since the Mapo Tofu is so flavorful, I made a quick ramen broth instead of the more complicated hours-long simmering that I usually do. Of course, you could totally cheat and use an instant ramen packet and instant House Foods Chinese Mabo Tofu Sauce and it's even faster.

But homemade is always much better.

Mapo Tofu Ramen 2

Mapo Tofu Ramen

For a 5-quart stock pot, about 4 to 6 servings, you'll need:
1 chicken carcass
1 large onion, quartered
1 3-inch square Dashi Kombu (Japanese Kelp)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin rice wine
2-inch knob ginger
1 lb ramen noodles
Ma Po Doufu (Chinese Pockmarked Old Lady's Tofu)

Fill a 5-quart stock pot with about 4 quarts of water. When the water boils, add the bones of 1 chicken, 1 large onion, a 3-inch-square piece of Japanese dried kelp, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup Japanese mirin rice wine, and a 2-inch knob of ginger. Let simmer at medium-high heat for about half an hour.

Mapo Tofu Ramen 3

Meanwhile, make the Mapo Tofu.

After half an hour, taste the broth and season to your liking.

Boil and drain the ramen noodles.

Assemble by placing the noodles at the bottom of each bowl and spooning the boiling broth over the noodles. Top with as much Mapo Tofu as you'd like.

Mapo Tofu Ramen 4


My other ramen recipes:
Shichimenchou (Japanese Turkey Bone) Ramen
Shio (Japanese Salt) Ramen
Torigara Shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce Chicken) Ramen

1 year ago today, tomato harvest.
2 years ago today, a garden tour and outdoor party.
3 years ago today, whipped cream, clotted cream, butter with a handheld mixer.


  1. This was really helpful! I always assume broth needs to be simmered for hours. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Boone Street Farm,
    Well, a proper tonkotsu broth, or even shoyu, definitely needs to be simmered for hours. But since the mapo tofu flavors are so strong, it'll overpower the broth anyway, so a quick broth is all that's needed.


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