Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Panda-monium Ma Bo Tofu Bento

We're having a meat week, following up the sausage pasta with ma bo tofu (I adapted Lovelylanvin's recipe), complete with a pair of tofu panda friends. I adapted the traditional recipe quite a bit; in fact it may not resemble actual ma po tofu much anymore. I have to omit all the chili bean sauce because the kids won't tolerate the spice, and I always add greens. Today I chopped half a bag full of baby bok choy, several green onion stalks and cilantro and mixed them in for texture, color and nutrition. Sometimes I use pickled mustard greens as well. Also, there is less sauce in mine, to keep it more bento-friendly. If you wanted to keep the soupiness, it would be better to pack it into a thermal food jar. But for us today, this donburi bowl-type bento box works just fine! Top tier contains all fruit: strawberries, grapes, kiwi, blood orange and little mandarinquat. If you've never seen a mandarinquat before, here's a photo, beside some yuzuquats and a standard satsuma mandarin for size comparison. The hybrid quats taste like kumquats, but slightly different. I think kumquats are the tartest, but it could be just me ^_^


28 comments:

  1. Now you make me craving for ma bo tofu. I love to use pickled mustard greens but hubby and the kids are not a big fan of it. Sometimes I wonder whether I have a wrong taste buds because I love it since I was a kid. Thanks for showing the picture at the bottom. I don't even know there are mandarinquat and yuzuquat until I saw your picture. Great one to share Sheri! (^.^)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We love pickled mustard greens too! Do you know the dish served with pork and pickled mustard greens? I love that one. Over hot rice, it's so good. Your taste buds are just right; just have to wait until everyone else's catches up.
      I only saw these hybrid quats at the market this past week too. I can't resist because as you know I'm such a mini fan ^_^
      Thanks Lia!

      Delete
    2. Yup! Pork with pickled mustard greens are perfect dish no matter how you cook them. Steamed, soup, stir fry, braised just always turn out so delicious. I think I have to wait for the kids to catch up but no hope for hubby LOL :D

      Delete
    3. Awww -- well that means extra servings for you! *^^*

      Delete
  2. Those tofu panda friends are too cute!! are you using firm tofu or extra firm?

    ReplyDelete
  3. so coulourful and heálthy but very very cute. It looks so tasty and cute >.<

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wooot! Yuzuquat? Mandarinquat? They are so cute!!! No chance for me to see any of those here... not even "normal" yuzu... Sometimes I wonder how did I end up at this place XD.
    Pandamonium is just great! My girls also enjoy mabo tofu as long as I don't put much of anything (HA! tofu sauce maybe?) and I hope when they get older they will love these types of food as much as I did when I was a child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we all hope the same things for our kids and wonder why they don't love exactly the same things we did when we were their age? I suppose to teach us to like different things ourselves in our grown-up years. I still hope ... ^^
      I wish I could send you the seeds to grow; you would be the hit of Finland!
      I love these hybrid quats for their cuteness - they are a bit tart though.
      Thanks L!

      Delete
  5. yuzuquat and mandarinquat! amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for uploading the yuzuquat and mandarinquat picture. It makes it easier to visualise the fruits. Never seen any of those around here though. And as I said on twitter, that box is not only magical by its roundness but also by its cuteness. I love your new threaded comments too. I'll have to look up how to implement those.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so sweet Ceinwyn; thank you. All those little quats are too cute, aren't they?
      If you have blogger, you should have threaded comments set up too. It's very handy.

      Delete
  7. Wow! Panda fever :D. Sheri, I love your oranges photo. I especially like the Mandarinquat, looks so unique ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the mandarinquats have a pointy end. So cute! Thanks tata :)

      Delete
  8. Mm, is there rice underneath? Looks soo good! I've seen these gorgeous mandarinquats at the grocery store but the labels are mostly in french. And I don't bother reading them. lol. The title of this bento is just as creative as the bento itself! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chantale,
      You know there's rice underneath! Gotta have it. That's great that you have these fruit over there. They're probably from Florida so pretty close by :) Thanks dear!

      Delete
  9. Ooooh! I wish I could have a bite! :) We used to have a kumquat tree in our backyard when I was a kid. I would climb the tree and eat them until my tongue went raw, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you serious? I can't believe you didn't find them too tart! That kumquat tree must have had the cutest fruit; you're so lucky you can grow citrus where you are!

      Delete
  10. Sheri, Love the Panda friends as well as craving for Ma Bo tofu now !

    ReplyDelete
  11. they look cute

    Aarthi
    http://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sheri,
    Do you use the Sweet Bean Paste? Just omit the spicy? My daughter doesn't do any spice, but I love love me some mapo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Becky, that's exactly what I do. But every time, I try to put just a little bit more the spicy bean paste in there as well. Hopefully they'll become accustomed to it because I love love lurrrrve me some mapo too!

      Delete