Cook the Book: Turkey with Spicy Black Beans in Tofu Dumplings 

Cook the Book: Turkey with Spicy Black Beans in Tofu Dumplings\u00a0

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Turkey with Spicy Black Beans in Tofu Dumplings is Anita Lo's adaptation of two favorite Chinese dishes, mapo tofu and steamed dumplings. By stuffing little rounds (or squares) of tofu with ground turkey mixed with scallions, fermented black beans, and doban djan, a Sichuan chile sauce, and steaming them, she's created little self-contained packages filled with all of the salty, spicy flavors that make mapo tofu so irresistible.

Adapted from Cooking Without Borders, this recipe has the added benefit of being no only quick to assemble (read even quicker than delivery from your local Sichuan joint) but also inexpensive and relatively light on the meat. Served with a pile of ginger and garlic sautéed greens, this is the kind of make at home Chinese dinner that might have you reconsidering your weekly takeout habit.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Cooking Without Borders to give away this week.

Adapted from Cooking Without Borders by Anita Lo. Copyright © 2011. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

  • Yield:4
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:35 minutes


  • 3 (14-ounce) packages firm tofu, cut into 1½-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces ground turkey
  • ½ bunch scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced on a bias
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese fermented black beans, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Szechuan chunky chile sauce (doban djan)
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ beaten large egg
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste 
  • For the dipping sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon Szechuan chunky chile sauce (doban djan)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced (on a bias) scallion whites  


  1. 1.

    With a melon baller, hollow out the tofu cubes, reserving 1 cup of the balls and putting them in a large bowl. To the balls, add the turkey, scallions, garlic, black beans, chile sauce, soy sauce, egg, cornstarch, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly (the tofu will break up). Liberally stuff into the tofu cubes so that the mixture is rounded above the tofu. Steam for about 5 minutes, until cooked through.

  2. 2.

    Make the dipping sauce: Combine all the ingredients and serve in 4 small dipping bowls alongside the tofu dumplings, which can be plated 3 per person.