Mapo Tofu麻婆豆腐má pó dòu fǔ

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Szechuan cuisine owes its notoriety to the Hot-and-Numbing Flavor’(麻辣味má là wèi), a powerful combination of chilies and Szechuan peppercorns. You either like it or hate it. No need to explain more about this humble yet classic Szechuan dish. – it is simply addictive. Ignore the pork in the recipe for a vegetarian alternative.

Serves 2-4,

  • 1 packet (about 400g)  firm or extra firm Tofu 北豆腐
  • 100g                               minced pork or beef 猪肉或牛肉末(vegetarians can simply skip this)
  • 1/2 tablespoon              sesame oil  香油
  • 1/4 teaspoon                 salt
  • 2 tablespoons               cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons                Szechuan fermented bean paste (Doubanjiang)四川郫县豆瓣酱
  • 2 tablespoons                spring onions (white part only)葱白, 切成末
  • 1/2 tablespoon               ginger, minced姜末
  • 1/2 tablespoon               garlic, minced蒜末
  • 1/2 tablespoon               fermented black beans, minced豆豉切碎
  • 1 tablespoon                   light soy sauce生抽
  • 4 tablespoons                  garlic greens, chopped 青蒜苗段 (green part only)
  • 400ml                              water in room temperature or chicken broth for braising
  • 1/2 tablespoon               Szechuan peppercorn powder四川花椒粉
  • 1 teaspoon                       sugar (optional)

Water starch

  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoon    water in room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon                    corn starch生粉ingredients

Method

  1. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sesame oil to minced pork or beef. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 2 and ½ tablespoons of water in a small bowl to make the water starch.
  3. Cut tofu into square cubes (around 2cms). Bring a large amount of water to a boil and then add a pinch of salt. Slide the tofu in and cook for 1 minute. Move out and drain.boil tofu
  4. Get a wok and heat up around 2 tablespoons of oil, fry the minced meat until crispy. Transfer out beef out and leave the oil in.FullSizeRender
  5. Fry doubanjiang for 1 minute over slow fire and then add minced garlic, spring onion white, ginger and fermented black beans to cook for 30 seconds until aroma. Add 400 ml water to the seasonings and bring to boil over high fire. Gently slide the tofu cubes. Add light soy sauce and pork/beef. Slow the heat after boiling and then simmer for 6-8 minutes. Then add half of the chopped garlic greens.fry seasoningscook tofu
  6. Stir the water starch into the simmering pot – do this by three batches to allow tofu even coated with seasonings. Just wait for around 30 seconds before you add another 1 batch of the water starch. Taste the tofu and add pinch of salt if not salty enough. If you feel it is too spicy, adding some sugar can help mild the taste. But be carefully as the broth is very hot at this point.add water starch
  7. Transfer out when almost all the seasonings stick to tofu cubes. Sprinkle Szechuan peppercorn powder (to taste) and the other half of the chopped garlic greens.
  8. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Tips

The fermented bean paste (doubanjiang) may differ in salinity. So adjust the amount if necessary

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