I’ve had this picture of mapo tofu from Wu Chao Shou in Taiwan as my Google picture for forever…it’s time to replace that! And, it is also way overdue for a post about 麻婆豆腐, seeing as I make it rather often (does once every 2-3 weeks count?).
Serves 2 if this is your only protein dish, serves 4 if you have other protein dish
-2 tsp oil
-3-4 ounces ground beef (pork can be substituted)
-1 heaping Tbsp la dou ban jiang (辣豆瓣醬）
-4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
-One package soft tofu (540 g), chopped into 1-inch cubes
-1/2 cup meat stock or water (stock highly recommended)
-1/2 tsp soy sauce
-1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
-1 1/2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
-3 scallions, chopped finely
-1 tsp+ chili oil (optional but highly recommended)
-1 tsp+ ground Sichuan peppercorns
1) In a wok or saute pan, heat up your oil, and brown the beef.
2) Once the beef is cooked, add the la dou ban jiang, and sautee until the oils start to take on the fire engine red of the jiang. Add garlic and continue to sautee (no burned garlic here!)
3) Add the tofu and gently mix so that the beef is incorporated between the tofu. Add the water or stock, and bring to a gentle boil (no lid yet). Then, cover and simmer to let bubbles break the surface, for about 10 minutes. If you have more time, let this simmer longer while you make your other dishes. If you wish, make your cornstarch slurry at this time: add cornstarch to a small bowl, and add just a little water until the cornstarch can make a slurry (not a paste).
4) After your simmer time, add soy sauce and salt. Taste some tofu and some sauce, and see if you need more of either one.
5) When you are happy with the seasoning, uncover the pan, and if you are using it, give your cornstarch slurry a stir, and pour onto your tofu, gently mixing to spread it throughout the dish. Increase the heat to let the cornstarch cook, stirring occasionally.
5) Once the sauce thickens, it is done. Transfer to a bowl-plate (something with sides to catch all that sauce!), drizzle with chili oil, and sprinkle Sichuan peppercorns and scallions on top.
-This dish should be 麻辣, which means both spicy and numbing. The Sichuan peppercorns give it its numbiness, so try not to leave it out!