Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu
In this Sichuan classic, tofu and ground pork or beef are braised in a fiery red chile sauce.Kat Craddock

This spicy braise, garnished with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, is one of the region's most well-known dishes.

Equipment

Sichuan Tofu and Ground Beef in Red Chile Sauce (Mapo Tofu)
This spicy braise, garnished with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, is one of the region's most well-known dishes.
Yield: serves 4
Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 oz.) package firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup hong you (Sichuan red chile oil), or substitute store-bought
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz. ground pork or beef
  • 4 suan miao (Chinese chives, blossoms discarded) or scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 1 xiao mi la or red Thai chile, stemmed and minced
  • 2½ Tbsp. douban jiang (Chinese red chile bean paste)
  • 1 Tbsp. dou chi (Chinese fermented black soybeans)
  • 1¼ cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
  • ¼ cup cornstarch, mixed with 6 Tbsp. water
  • ¼ tsp. ground Sichuan pepper, for garnish
  • Steamed rice, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the tofu in a bowl with 3 cups boiling salted water; let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and spread on paper towels to dry; set aside.
  2. In a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok, heat the chile oil over medium-high. Add the garlic and ginger; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the pork and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until browned, 4–6 minutes. Add the chives, chile, paste, and soybeans; cook, stirring, until the chives are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and reserved tofu; bring to a boil, stirring gently, so as not to break up the tofu. Add the sugar and soy sauce; cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. While stirring, slowly add the cornstarch mixture; continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a dish and garnish with Sichuan pepper and more chives. Serve with rice.