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Monday, October 3, 2011

Ma-Po Tofu with a twist and becoming a vegetarian

I am becoming a vegetarian. Ovo-lacto vegetarian because I'm still including eggs and dairy product in my diet. On the weekends when we go out to eat, I sometimes morphed into a pescetarian because I often order fish.

It all started about 2 years ago. After reading several articles by Michael Pollan on the NY Times's website (here and here). We really liked his philosophy "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

So we started adding more vegetables into our diet and it worked really well. Then we thought that maybe we should try to become vegetarian.

I lasted 2 days.

I was miserable. I didn't enjoy what I eat and I missed meat. But I think switching overnight was a big mistake. It was just too much. And especially since I didn't really know how and what to cook that doesn't include any form of meat.

Late last year I stumbled upon Mark Bittman. His philosophy is similar to that of Michael Pollan's but most importantly, Bittman has recipes!

Since then we have been eating less and less meat, using meat for flavor and not as the star of the dish, supplementing it instead with beans, tofu, grains, and of course more vegetables. It worked really well. To the point that I actually looked forward to the beans and grains part of the dish.

I've tried Mark Bittman's Ma-Po Tofu a couple times and really liked it. I want to make it again but without the ground pork.

So I improvised.

Following his recipe but skipping the part where he added the ground pork. Instead I added the carrots, cook it until it's almost soft. Then throw in the silken mushrooms, tofu, canned tomatoes, and soy sauce. Cook it for about 10 minutes then throw in frozen peas and serve with brown rice.

In the end this is so far from the Ma-Po Tofu that I've had in Chinese restaurants but it doesn't matter because it is good. It is better than the version with the ground pork and it's because of all the variety of vegetables added to this dish. I think next time I will strain some of the liquid from the canned tomatoes. There was a lot of broth. Enough to make hubby think this is a soup, :). I ate mine with some cholula hot sauce because I felt like having a little kick. Maybe next time I'll try to add some fresh peppers in there for the extra kick.

Recipe: Ma-Po Tofu


  1. ב''ה

    Just so you know there is another perspective on Pollan (from Joe Pastry:)

  2. Hi Jenn, Thanks for visiting my blog and your nice comment. Yes, I think I will follow in your foot steps and become slowly a vegetarian. I am not there yet.
    Great blog you have. LOVE your pictures!

  3. I wish you the best with this. For a few months, my daughter (a vegetarian) and I were the only ones at home in Tucson. I found that I was eating vegetarian 95% of the time and didn't feel like I was missing anything.

  4. Jenn,
    I am so impressed that you are going vegetarian. I'm with you... Pollan makes a really strong point and since reading his book, we've eaten a lot less meat. But I just cannot seem to go all the way.
    I'm looking forward to reading about your meat-free adventures and recipes.


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