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.
- 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）
- 2 and 1/2 tablespoon water in room temperature
- 1 tablespoon corn starch生粉
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sesame oil to minced pork or beef. Mix well and set aside.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 2 and ½ tablespoons of water in a small bowl to make the water starch.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice.
The fermented bean paste (doubanjiang) may differ in salinity. So adjust the amount if necessary