Japanese people eat a lot of Chinese food!
So many foods that we have come to know and love as Japanese food are considered to have chinese origins. Ramen, sukiyaki, and mapo tofu all have chinese origins, but have a place in many Japanese restaurants.
The Japanese put a really nice twist on chinese food, it's nothing like american chinese food. It's really delicious.
Mapo tofu, which is a fairly common dish here, is a chinese derived dish. It is delicious! It's spicy, savory, and really fills you up.
For anyone who doesn't like tofu, or is afraid of it, give this dish a shot. It's very flavorful, the tofu acts as an excellent base for the sauces.
Here is the recipe I use (it's really easy!)
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp. finely chopped ginger
1 block of cubed firm tofu
1tbsp. Sesame oil
150 g. Ground pork
1 tbsp. Chili bean paste (Doubanjiang)
1 tbsp. Sweet bean paste (Tianmanjiang)
1 tbsp. Sake
6 oz. Chicken broth
1 tbsp. Soy sauce
Starch/water mixture-enough to thicken the sauce (I use tapioca starch here, but just use what ever starch you're used to)
Here is a video that explains the procedure, the method and recipe is really good. The things I change are: I don't bother specially draining the tofu, it's a waste of time on this dish. I use more chili paste, the video is a very mild version. I use don't use powdered chicken stock, I use either broth, or just water.
Chop the garlic and ginger.
Remove the tofu from the packaging, cut into large cubes. (Let the water drain as you start to cook the other ingredients)
Oil a pan using sesame oil. Add the pork, ginger, and garlic. Cook until the pork fat becomes clear. Push the meat to one side of the pan, and put the chili bean paste and sweet bean paste on the other side.Let the sauces cook a bit, but do not let the sauces burn! Mix the pork into the sauces while adding the sake. Once the meat and sauce have been mixed add the chicken broth and soy sauce. Let the mixture come to a boil, then gently add the tofu. Stir the mixture to cover the tofu in the liquid. Reduce the heat and add your starches until the mixture is at the right consistency. Stir in the green onion.
Serve with rice and enjoy!