Dinner for under $15: Mao Poe tofu by Buddakan NYC's Lon Symensma

Tofu may be bland but it's a fantastically inexpensive way to get healthy protein into your family's diet. Lon Symensma, executive chef at Manhattan's chic Buddakan restaurant, has cooked up a way to spice up that white block of soybean that will knock your family's socks off. This dish, fragrant with garlic and ginger, serves up to 4.

Mao Poe Tofu
1 pack silken tofu
4 ounces bean sauce, preferably Koon Chun brand
2 ounces minced garlic
1 ounce minced ginger
2 1/2 ounces sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
10 ounces ground pork, preferably pork butt
1 tablespoon sliced scallion
Salt for seasoning
5 thin slices of jalapeno pepper for garnish
1 teaspoon store bought fried onions for garnish
1. Place a wok or large skillet on medium heat. Sautee garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes or until soft.

2. Meanwhile, combine the bean sauce, sherry vinegar, sugar, ground pork and scallions in a bowl.

3. Turn the wok or skillet up to high heat and add in pork mixture. Cook for 1 minute before adding tofu. Saute for another 30 seconds. Season with salt and plate.

4. Garnish tofu and pork with fried onions shallots and jalapeno pepper slices.

5. Serve with white rice.
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