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The Queen of Mapo Doufu Recipes (Mapo Tofu)

Adapted from Sichuan (China) Cuisine in Both Chinese and English, published in China in 2010 by the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine and the Sichuan Gourmet Association
Author: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces ground beef approx. 60 grams
  • 6 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Pixian doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
  • 2 teaspoons douchi (fermented black beans), rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan chili flakes (ground chilies)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (Zhongba preferred)
  • 6 to 8 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 block Asian soft tofu (around 19 ounces), cut in 3/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper (to taste and according to potency of pepper; see note)

Instructions

  • Heat wok until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until just begins to smoke. Add beef and stir-fry, breaking it into a small mince, until it is cooked through and starting to brown. Remove the beef and hold.
  • Clean the work, return it to heat until hot, then add the remaining 5 tablespoons oil. Heat briefly, then add the chili bean paste, fermented black beans and chili flakes. Let these sizzle until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Add the chicken stock, soy sauce and scallions.
  • Return the minced beef to the wok. Add the tofu cubes, and simmer for a couple minutes, gently tossing the tofu with the sauce. Add the cornstarch slurry a bit at a time until the dish thickens. You may not need it all.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with ground Sichuan pepper.

Notes

Ground Sichuan pepper: Sort Sichuan peppercorns and discard any black seeds or twigs. Toast in a dry skillet or toaster oven until pods start to smell very fragrant, but do not brown them. Let peppercorns cool, then grind in a spice grinder or in a mortar & pestle to your desired coarseness. Sift out any yellow husks that don't break down. Sichuan pepper powder will retain its potent flavor and numbing punch for only a few weeks.