December 30, 2009

Chinese Food for New Year’s

Happy New Year’s Eve! (Assuming you’re reading this on Thursday and not when I actually hit publish, that is.) Do you have any extra special fun plans? Or lack thereof, if that’s how you roll?

As for me, I fall into the latter category. I’m not in to the Times Square thing, or even the party thing, really. And with the boyf out of town, I’m more than happy to spend a quiet night in, to be honest.

If you’re like me, your New Year’s traditions probably tend towards something like ordering in Chinese food and watching TV. In honor of said “tradition,” I adapted one of my favorite Chinese tofu dishes to be a little healthier (and vegan-er). When I was living in China, I loved ma la dofu, a very spicy tofu dish speckled with minced pork. This version has all the flavor (and a Japanese spin!) without the gratuitous oil and meat.


Mabo Dofu (adapted from this recipe)


  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste, depending on heat tolerance)
  • 1 tbsp nama shoyu (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp agave (or other sweetener/sugar)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 package silken tofu, mostly drained (use a larger package, 12oz/1lb-ish?—I actually used the remains of a package with 1/2 cup already gone, but it was still enough)



  1. Make the sauce first. Whisk miso through agave with the hot water until smooth.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Add onions and cook until translucent, several minutes at medium-high heat.
  3. Pour in the sauce and stir a little until warmed through.
  4. Fold in tofu. No need to cut/slice it first—silken tofu will fall apart naturally. Continue to fold/stir until you have bite-size pieces, but not so small that the tofu has disintegrated.
  5. Simmer until sauce has thickened a little and the tofu is well coated, another 5 minutes or so.
  6. Spoon over brown rice and serve with Japanese pickles for garnish, if desired.

Serves 2


Heck, this meal’s so quick, you could have this for dinner AND still go out for New Year’s Eve! Especially if you have some leftover cooked brown rice ready to go.


Here’s hoping you get to do whatever it is you most want do for New Year’s Eve, whether that means TV and tofu or someone throwing up on you while freezing and packed into a corral at Times Square.

Yeah, I’m definitely staying in.

Happy 2010!


Gena said...

Your capacity for rendering mainstream dishes exceptionally clean, healthy, and be-a-u-tiful will never cease to amaze me, D :-)

Anonymous said...

yumm i want chinese on new years! looks aweesome!

Anonymous said...

I much prefer staying in too...not something 21 year olds are suppose to say right? oh well, i just did! love the chinese food, great idea!

chrystad72 said...

This looks awesome. I absolutely love all the beautiful and healthy dishes you create! This one looks super tasty!

Im staying in as well. ha! Im much more of a stay in on new years eve type girl. Theres something about grabbing some take out and good movies that I find so fun. But anyways I hope you have one fantastic holiday girl!!!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

loved your reply about not hangin with the drunks in NYC on my bloggie LOL. Good for you!!!!

I’ve been up for 26 hrs. I am truly insane. Get home after 3+ weeks away, go groc shopping at 1am, unpack everyone, do the mail, and then crack the google reader. Yes, I love my bloggie friends :)

Your food, looks amazing. As usual though :)

healthy ashley said...

Your homemade Chinese food sounds awesome! I agree with Gena's comment, too!

Enjoy your night in :)I'm never one for a huge NYE either. Tonight we'll be heading to David's boss's party. They should have some good food!!!

katherine said...

I'm so impressed that you can take this kind of recipe and make it so, well, Diana-i-fied! I would loooooove to stay in for NYE but we'll be downtown at a party until all hours. I likely won't wake up until sometime on Saturday!

Gina said...

Yum, this looks so good!! I love your creative and unique recipes.

I'm going out tonight, for sure. Nick and I always go to his friend's sports bar, then walk across the street to stay in a hotel. We don't necessarily drink a lot, but I don't like being on the free-way on NYE, it's just not the safest idea, so it's worth the money to get a hotel!

Happy New Year!

Mrs. Sturgis said...

Hi Diana, I just tried this recipe .. WOW.. so delicious. Thanks!