Mapo Doufu and Graduation!


What’s up, guys??

It’s graduation! Yesterday afternoon, I had the honor of “graduating” from my dietetics program with my 17 classmates. My current university is enormous and I’ve already graduated from college once, so I didn’t attend my large university graduation. However, my coordinated dietetics program had a small ceremony for the 18 of us where we would be receiving our American Dietetic Association pins. Now, THAT I couldn’t miss!

Having such a personalized ceremony while attending a large university is a treat. We were able to listen as our professors talked about each one of us, sharing funny stores and predictions about where we would go next. I also delivered a speech to attending family and friends alongside my wonderful classmate, Kristen.

Delivering my part of the speech (clearly Peter is sitting below and to the left, causing every picture to showcase me from the shoulders up 😉 ):

Had to get an “active” podium shot later (no, I’m not actually giving the speech here):

And, here’s my new ADA pin!

I find it a little strange to “graduate” from university when my classmates and I have still have six weeks left in our program (remember? I still have my food service and specialty dietetic rotations to complete). Six weeks and a registration exam between me and the RD!

How best to celebrate graduation? Why, by enjoying some mapo doufu courtesy of Iron Chef Morimoto!

Morimoto’s Graduation Mapo Doufu (I added the “Graduation” part. Duh.)
Adapted from Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking
Serves 4

2/3 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (don’t forget the spoon trick for peeling ginger!)
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 cup douchi (Chinese black beans)
1 Tbsp bamboo shoot, chopped
1 Tbsp celery, chopped (if you MUST)
12 ounces (250 g) pork, thinly sliced or ground (we used sliced)
1 cup chicken or veggie stock
1 Tbsp red miso (can find at Whole Foods or an Asian grocery store)
1 Tbsp Chinese hot chile sauce (tobanjan) or Sriracha hot chili sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
1 pound (450 g) firm tofu, cut into cuboids or cubes
Steamed rice (we used brown) and sliced scallion for garnish

Doesn’t it make you feel like Emeril when your husband prepares all the ingredients in little bowls ahead of time?

You can mix together the chicken stock, red miso, chili sauce, sugar, and soy sauce ahead of time:

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium heat. Add the shiitake mushrooms, garlic, ginger, scallion, bamboo shoot, and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pork and cook, breaking up any lumps with a spoon, for about 7 minutes or until the pork is completely cooked.

Add the chicken stock, red miso, chili sauce, sugar, and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and cook until thickened, about 30 seconds. Shortly before serving, add the tofu and gently stir to mix. Cook until it is heated through, about 3 minutes.

Serve in bowls with steamed rice. Garnish with sliced scallion.

With a side of steamed veggies, such as broccoli or snap peas (or both!), this protein-packed complete meal was a definitely a crowd-pleaser! (“Crowd” meaning me and Peter. And Maddie, of course.)

A forlorn little Maddles, waiting for her portion - KIDDING!

Q: Have you ever tried mapo doufu?


What’s your favorite graduation memory?


  1. Congrats! I am super impressed you got a ceremony. That is so nice! We didn’t get anything.
    You are almost there! You will make an amazing RD!

  2. Wow, big congratulations to you Jessie! You’re almost there, you must be so excited 😀 You and Peter look gorgeous 🙂 Yay!!!

  3. Congratulations! I can’t really remember any good memories of graduation. Was just too excited to get out of school!

    Love the additions of woodear mushrooms in the tofu dish. It adds more bite to the texture of the dish.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS Jessie!!! I saw your pics on FB, but wasn’t sure if you were there to attend your friends’ graduation or if that was yours too. Now that I think about it, makes total sense that it was yours also. How awesome that they had a small ceremony for just the 18 of you! Kind of have to wonder why they wouldn’t wait for you to finish your rotation. Can you believe how close to finishing you are? I’m so excited for you. Rock your last rotation like I know you can!

    My Mom makes mapo tofu with shrimp b/c I’m so picky like that. I’ve tried Sophia’s version too, which was fantastic. Yours looks delicious! I used to love to feed this to the kiddies because it was quite easy for them to eat. I can just eat this while plate on it’s own.

    Best of luck with your final rotation, sweetie! Looking pretty in all your pics as usual. I like the one of you at the podium, your “ation” shot. Too cute. Hope you had a wonderful weeken, Jessie!

  5. Congratulations JESSIE!!! This is so awesome, and it brings back memories. And yes, I agree that it’s sort of strange you still have two rotations left. So…you are finished….but you aren’t. INteresting. Congrats are still in order though, obviously 🙂

    The night I graduated from my dietetics internship was the first night NIck and I were supposed to go out. I called him but he never answered. I was so nervous I didn’t even leave a message. He made some lame excuse the next day as to why he didn’t answer (looking back, it was actually quite a good one!). The next day we went out, and have been dating ever since 🙂 Awwwww

  6. Congratulations on your graduation Jessie!! All your hard work over the past years has paid off. I hope that this is the start of an amazing career for you.

    Thanks for sharing that recipe too. I’m always on the lookout for a good tofu recipe!

  7. That’s awesome, a HUGE congrats to you, Jessie!!! I’ve never had mapo doufu before, but it looks like something I would be all over…love the flavors in there! Definitely a fantastic graduation meal. 🙂

  8. J,

    Congrats on all your hard work. Best of luck to you going of forward.

    A fine dish to celebrate with for sure. Beautiful execution.

    Be well

  9. Congratulations Jessie…so fantastic! Looks like a great way to celebrate 🙂
    Have great fun with the remainder of your program 🙂

  10. Big, Big, Big congratulations Jessie!!! and Big HUG! I am so happy for you, this is the season of harvesting!!! Your badge looks sooo cool (and I almost thought it was for police :-P) Now, onto next chapter!!

    Have a wonderful week, Jessie! You deserve a fabulous summer!

  11. Congratulations Jessie! I am so thrilled for you – you’ve worked so hard and deserve the most fantastic graduation meal…which this is!

    Have a lovely rest of the week!

  12. WOOT WOOT! Exciting stuff! I think it’s better that you graduate six weeks early. Then you get to celebrate twice. Score.

    That mapo looks SO GOOD. You’ve got me craving some big time!

  13. Congratulations Jessie!! I know you still have more work to do until you’re “official” but graduation is very exciting! You’re going to make an awesome dietitian and I’m excited to see the direction you choose to go in after this!

    The week you spent in Cambridge sounds really interesting. I love how homey her office looks.

    And I’ve never had mapo doufu but it sounds delicious….even without the pork 😉

  14. Congratulations, Jessie! And mapo tofu, er doufu, is great (girl knows her ping ying). I should try adding Chinese black beans to my recipe. Heheh, for some reason it’s “charming” (for lack of a better word) to me that they add miso to Chinese dishes in Japan. One of my Japanese cookbooks had a couple dishes they labeled Chinese but with miso involved. But it’s good!

  15. You’re such a cutie, Jessie!! Congrats! And yes, I LOVE mapo tofu…I made a Korean-style one, and have made it several times since. So good!

  16. Great meal to celebrate! And, yes, I have always found graduations when there is still quite a bit of work to do a bit strange. But I’m glad you got to experience a small, personalize ceremony!

  17. Congratulations Jessie!!! So amazing you have graduated even though you have not graduated yet haha

    A couple of weeks ago I went to my graduation ceremony from my Masters degree that I completed last year (pics of me in a gown in my FB profile). It took place in the ROYAL ALBERT HALL!! (Yeah gotta love Imperial College being right next to that place) and I loved every moment of it it was interesting strangely and it was the first graduation ceremony I ever went to, I missed my undergraduate ceemony because of exams for my masters.

    I have never tried mapo doufou, why, I have never even tried tofu! It’s in my ‘to do’ list. It looks very… foreign to me though, with all that ginger and soy and bamboo, too much unchartered territory for me 😀

  18. What dup Jessie!? HUGE Congratulations to my Jessie! You rock that podium :D. I’ve tried mapo tofu and it’s so delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been wanting to try to make it other than ordering from a restaurant ><"

  19. CONGRATULATIONS – it has NOT been a winding road – you have been going at it straight ahead – yet, it has been a LONG time!!!! GOOD FOR YOU! YEAH!!!!

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