Silken Tofu with Spicy Ground Pork Sauce (Mapo Tofu)
3 each packages of silken medium tofu
drained and cut into 1” or larger squares
Enough hot water to cover the tofu
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1/2 lb ground pork
1 cup toban djan (chili bean paste)
1/4 cup fermented black beans
slightly mashed, and then soaked in water for 20 min.
2 tsp chili flakes (to taste)
2 tsp toasted ground Sichuan peppercorns
6 each garlic cloves
2 each bunches scallions
finely chopped, divided in half
1/2 cup Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp cornstarch
mixed well with 2 tbsp cold water
  • wok
  • Wok spatula
*For a vegetarian/vegan version, omit the ground pork and substitute 1 # minced Shiitake mushrooms. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Gently place the cubed tofu in a large bowl or wide container. Mix the salt into the hot water to dissolve. Pour over the tofu and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain carefully and set tofu aside.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat until barely smoking. Add the pork and use a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Once the meat is well-browned, add the toban djan (chili bean paste). Stir-fry quickly until fragrant. Then add the fermented black beans, chili flakes, and Sichuan peppercorn. Continue stirring until fragrant. Add the garlic and half the scallions, then stir-fry for about a minute, or until softened. Stir in the Shaoxing rice wine, chicken stock, and soy sauce until combined. Add the tofu very gently, being careful not to break it up. Agitate the cornstarch slurry and add half to the sauce. Using your spoon, gently push the tofu back and forth to mix. When the sauce returns to a boil, taste and adjust seasoning. If you want a thicker sauce, add the rest of the cornstarch slurry.
To Serve
Carefully transfer the Mapo Tofu into a hot, wide serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining scallions.