Recipe: Mapo Tofu

Mapo tofu, a staple of Chinese restaurants and now one of my favorite dishes to cook. It’s quick, simple and the perfect comfort food for a chilly evening. There’s a lot of room for experimentation, especially in adjusting the amount of cayenne to change the spice level. This recipe is set to medium spiciness.

The recipe below is a frankenchild of AllRecipes and Epicurious.

Makes 3-4 servings

1/2 lb ground pork (95% lean)
5 tbsp dry sherry (or cooking wine)

1 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed (might be called “Salted black beans“)
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (I ❤ garlic and use almost double this)
2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of ginger, minced

1 package (1 lb) of firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
3 tbsp of canola oil
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 – 1 tsp Szechuan peppercorn powder
3 tbsp chopped scallions

1. Combine ground pork and sherry in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Combine black beans, chili garlic sauce, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in another small bowl and set aside.
3. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a light simmer. Slide tofu into water and maintain at a light simmer for 5-7 minutes as you stir-fry other ingredients. Pre-poaching the tofu this way makes sure that it is tender in the final dish.
4. Heat a wok over high heat until hot (can substitute a skillet) and swirl the canola oil to coat the cooking surface evenly. Stir-fry pork until evenly brown, breaking up clumps as needed. Stir in black bean mixture, peas and pre-poached tofu. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a light boil. Keep stir-frying until it looks ready to eat.
5. Serve topped with sesame oil, Szechuan peppercorn powder and chopped scallions.

Dinner is served

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