We should have done more of these cooking lessons at home.
My son has just started university this autumn.
We had have been told that student accommodation was completely full and had to wait until the waiting list opens.
We spent hours discussing other possibilities and looking for alternatives, but did not find a solution. We came to a conclusion of him commuting from home for a while. It is not entirely impossible to do so although the train journey takes an hour and 30 minutes one way.
Just 5 days before the school starts, the school sent him an e-mail to notify him that there was a room available.
It is three minutes away from the campus and reasonably priced. He jumped on the opportunity of course.
We went to shopping in a hurry and got him the basics to start the uni life; bed linens, toiletaries, storage boxes and underwear. We left the cooking stuff since we didn’t know how well their kitchen was equipped.
He moved in last weekend.
This week, I received a long list of kitchen essentials he said he needed. I placed orders online. They should be arriving to him in no time.
I wish I had taught him more about shopping, meal planning, food safety and cooking. He can cook a little, but his repatoire is rather limited.
Just before he took off, he had a go at cooking this dish; Mabo-doufu
Mabo doufu or Mapo tofu is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province. It consists of tofu set in a spicy red chili and bean based sauce. It is very popular in Japan, too. The sauce usually cooked with minced pork meat,spring onion, ginger and garlic. It is very easy to prepare.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 packet Tofu
100g minced pork meat
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp grated ginger
300cc chicken stock
1 Tbsp miso paste
1.5 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine
1 tsp red bean paste
1 Tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place tofu in a sieve or colander to extract excess water. Alternatively, heat tofu in a microwave for one minute.
2. Heat wok with 1 tbsp oil and cook ginger and garlic until fragrant. Cook meat until brown.
3. Dice tofu and add to the wok.
4. Add sauce and cook, covered for 15 minutes.
5. Add spring onion and cook another minute. Add corn starch and cook until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
Some recipe has Douchi or black bean sauce, Chinese five spices and other ingredients. You can experiment with whatever you like. A little unconventional, but I sometimes add baby spinach leaves at the end.
If you are not at all keen on spicy food, you can omit red bean sauce entirely and cook it with miso and soy sauce only. We usually go easy on chili. You can cook it in a deep frying pan instead of a wok.
You can buy a smaller Tofu in a paper packet at a supermarket if you are cooking for 1-2 portions.
It is easy and quick. This is one of my son’s favorites and he wanted to learn how to make it. He likes serving it over steamed rice in ‘Bonburi (bowl) style’.
Happy cooking and good luck to all freshers.