TCC's Surely Not Authentic Mapo Tofu

Submitted by The Cynical Cook

A Sichuanese recipe I have corrupted to serve my twisted will.

Do not make this recipe if you are afraid of heat. Do not try to modify the recipe to make it less hot.

Properly made, this stuff should melt right through carbonized steel.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb of ground pork
  • 1 package of silken tofu (soft tofu works okay, firm tofu not at all. Stick with the silken if at all possible)
  • Chicken broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon of red chili flakes (though it could be more)
  • 1 tablespoon of sambal oelek (or chili garlic sauce)
  • 1 dollop (maybe 1 1/2 table spoons) of black bean sauce (a fermented soybean sauce that can be)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of ginger, minced
  • 1 table spoon sesame oil (or even better chili sesame oil)
  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Diced scallions

Method

  1. In a wok or a high rimmed frying pan, heat the sesame oil up at high heat.
  2. When the oil begins to ripple, turn the heat down to medium and add the following ingredients in order: garlic, ginger, chili flakes, sambal, blackbean sauce.
  3. Stir and fry the sauce ingredients until they become fragrant and you can feel your eyes stinging (About 3-5 minutes). If any ingredients begin to burn, simply remove ffrom heat and continue to stir.
  4. Add ground pork and break up in the pan so no chunks form. Stir fry until fully cooked and a fair amount of liquid has been released.
  5. Add enough chicken broth to just cover and simmer uncovered for five minutes
  6. Spoon tofu into wok (roughly bite sized chunks), add perhapps half a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of soy sauce. Stir to incorporate fully.
  7. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes to thicken. At this stage there should be a bright red slick of sesame oil on top.
  8. Serve over steamed white rice and garnish with chopped scallions.

Cook's Notes

The one thing it's really missing is the characteristic "mala" numbing spiciness of Sichuan cuisine that you find from Sichuan (Szechwan) peppercorns which have a burning sensation unique from other peppercorns. If you happen to find any, make sure to crush and fry them along with the other spices in the first step. You can also add them crushed at the very end for an unadulterated kick of pain.

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