This is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in Japan. The way the Chinese make it, it is far spicier since it contains Chinese spicy peppers (sansho), but the Japanese version is somewhat toned down. The ingredients are all very healthy and since the dish is warm and comforting, it is often eaten in the winter. I often make this dish when I come home late and don’t have time to make anything else. The ‘don’ refers to a ‘donburi’ which is a large Japanese bowl – any dish with the word don after it (like oyako don) means that the dish is served in a bowl on top of rice.
1 block of silken tofu
100g pork mince
1 thumb ginger
1 clove garlic
1/2 bunch leeks
2 tsp tobanjan (Chinese spicy miso paste)
1 tbs potato starch
2 tbs water
1/2 tbs sesame oil
100cc chicken stock soup (Japanese or Chinese)
1tbs soy sauce
Finely chop the ginger, garlic and leek and fry over medium heat being careful not to burn. Add the tobanjyan (and a sliced red chili if you like it really spicy), then continue to fry gently.
While the above ingredients are frying and slowly getting softer and more flavoursome, you can start to extract the water from the tofu. Wrap the block of tofu in kitchen paper tightly, and place a small plate on top. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, add all the sauce ingredients together and add to the pan when the meat it brown. Simmer gently.
Mix the potato starch with water, then take the pan off the heat and pour the starch mixture mixture slowly into the pan mixing all the time. Here you can find your desired level of thickness – I like to make mine slightly thinner than a good bolognese sauce. Finally add the sesame oil to flavour, and serve the mixture on a bowl of hot white rice.