Pork and Leek Mapo Tofu Ramen … and other Porky Dishes

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, pork is one of the most inexpensive proteins available in Ontario. At less than $2 a pound, on sale, you can get a lot of good meals out of a pork butt (transformed into pulled pork) or a brined loin (peameal bacon roast).

Lean ground pork sometimes goes on sale as well, but other than pork and shrimp wontons/potstickers (wonton wrappers needed and more time than I wanted to invest), I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make. And then I remembered that I hadn’t made mapo tofu in some time. So, I bought a package of tofu (silken for a change) and a bundle of leeks and made a pot. I used some of the meat/veggie/tofu mixture for ramen soup and then thickened the remainder and topped plain long grain rice with it.

ETA: Instead of pork, ground chicken or beef may be used in this dish. Or just leave out the meat entirely. Mushrooms, broccoli or bok choy may be substituted for the leeks.

Mapo Tofu Ramen – Not sure how to deal with this gorgeous bowl of soup? Pile some of your noodles, meat and veggies into your little spoon for eating neatly and then sip the broth. Repeat until it’s all gone.

 

For ramen soup … you need ramen noodles. And those cheap (2 for $1) individual dry noodle soup packages are convenient. Throw away the seasoning packet inside.

I mean it.

Throw it away!

If you’re not planning on having leftovers, feel free to use silken tofu, which practically melts into your hot soup, for the mapo tofu. However, if you’re going to have some left for a second meal, use medium-firm or firm tofu which stands up to reheating in the microwave. Only a few changes are needed to turn your mapo tofu into mapo tofu soup. Use 3 cups of chicken stock instead of only one. And, you won’t need that cornstarch for thickening your meat/veggie/tofu.

Omurice – One or two egg omelette wrapped around pulled pork fried rice and garnished with ketchup. The pulled pork came from the freezer.

 

Peameal bacon roast – I haven’t roasted one of these tasty lean cuts of pork for quite some time. Sliced and served for supper it’s delicious. Leftovers may be quickly pan seared to reheat/brown and served for breakfast along with fried eggs, hashed browns or whatever you prefer.

 

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24 thoughts on “Pork and Leek Mapo Tofu Ramen … and other Porky Dishes

    1. Surprisingly NO. I bought a little piece of (what was labelled as) pork belly 5 yrs ago at my regular grocery store (Metro) to make a honey garlic pork belly donburi and paid an arm and a leg. After I sliced it up it looked just like regular bacon. I haven’t bought it since. It may be cheaper at the market.

      https://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/100955.html

      But then, I think they sell based on the NAME. Why do I have to pay $5 a pound for chicken wings when I can buy bone-in chicken breast for half that price?

      1. The pork belly was drier than sliced bacon which is pumped up with water so that may account for some of the price difference. I’m going to have to see if there’s a difference in price per pound between ‘slab bacon’ and ‘pork belly’.

      2. It’s deceptive how much water is pumped into bacon. A local bacon maker makes wonderful smoked streaky bacon. The price is high but the quality compared with supermarket bacon is very obvious.

      3. I remember my dad used to buy smoked slab bacon from one of the butchers at the city market and then hand slice it himself. I think they saved the rinds in the freezer to throw into the dish when my mom made Romanian cabbage rolls (sarmale) with hand-cut pork instead of ground/minced pork.

      1. I think I first got exposed to tofu in miso soup. My mother had never heard of the stuff and wouldn’t have ever cooked with it even if she had. (My dad was fussy.)

  1. I’m sorry I haven’t been around much, we spent the month in Arizona and I thought id have more free time to blog and comment, but no such luck! I couldn’t believe how inexpensive meat is in the US! You can get chicken for 69 cents a pound! And their chicken breasts are HUGE, at least 400 grams!
    The pork dishes look awesome, particularly the soup (I’ve been so darn cold since we’ve gotten back).

    1. Welcome back. I thought that’s what I remembered reading. Of course, after being in Arizona, home IS cold. 🙂

      You can use ground chicken (thighs or breasts) to make the mapo tofu and the fried rice used in the omelette. Or even turkey meat.

      My butcher often has ground turkey for a good price. Lots of people only buy turkey breasts to roast up for the holidays, especially if they have a small family. They may buy turkey drumsticks or wings separately, to roast, but not as many buy the thighs on their own … based on meat preferences at my house, so, to be economical, some butchers combine the meat on the rest of the turkey carcass with the thigh meat and sell it off.

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