Serves 2 to 3
Main Course

Ingredients

Part 1: For the Tofu
  • firm tofu,1,pound,cut into 1/2-inch cubes,
  • salt,pinch,,,
  • vegetable oil,1,tablespoon,,la-tourangelle-grapeseed-oil
  • lean ground beef,4,ounces,,
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Mapo Tofu

This searingly spicy tofu dish is quintessentially Sichuan with its mala (spicy hot and numbing) flavors. This recipe is a very spicy version of the dish, close to the original, but the heat level can be adjusted downward by reducing the amount of red chile powder. — From Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking by Kian Lam Kho. Buy this book from Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Reprinted from Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees: Essential Techniques of Authentic Chinese Cooking. Copyright © 2015 by Kian Lam Kho. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Jody Horton. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Written By Kian Lam Kho | Mar 11, 2019

Ingredients

Part 1: For the Tofu
  • firm tofu,1,pound,cut into 1/2-inch cubes,
  • salt,pinch,,,
  • vegetable oil,1,tablespoon,,la-tourangelle-grapeseed-oil
  • lean ground beef,4,ounces,,
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Step one

Put the tofu in a medium saucepan and add 5 cups water and the salt. Bring the water to a boil and then cook gently over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the tofu is soft. Turn the heat off and let the tofu sit in the water.

Step two

Heat a wok over high heat until a droplet of water sizzles and evaporates immediately upon contact. Swirl the vegetable oil around the bottom and sides of the wok to coat it evenly. Add the ground beef to the wok and stir-fry for about 3 minutes or until the beef has browned slightly. Remove the beef from the wok and transfer it to a bowl.

Ingredients

Part 2: For the Chile Bean Oil
  • vegetable oil,1/4,cup,,la-tourangelle-grapeseed-oil
  • minced scallion whites,1,tablespoon,,
  • minced fresh ginger,1,tablespoon,,
  • Chinese red chile powder,1,tablespoon,,organic-indian-chile-powder
  • Sichuan peppercorn powder,1/2,teaspoons,,sichuan-peppercorns
  • Sichuan chile bean paste,2,tablespoons,,
  • fermented black beans,1,tablespoons,coarsely chopped,fermented-black-beans
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Ingredients

Part 2: For the Chile Bean Oil
  • vegetable oil,1/4,cup,,la-tourangelle-grapeseed-oil
  • minced scallion whites,1,tablespoon,,
  • minced fresh ginger,1,tablespoon,,
  • Chinese red chile powder,1,tablespoon,,organic-indian-chile-powder
  • Sichuan peppercorn powder,1/2,teaspoons,,sichuan-peppercorns
  • Sichuan chile bean paste,2,tablespoons,,
  • fermented black beans,1,tablespoons,coarsely chopped,fermented-black-beans
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Step three

To make the chile bean paste oil, heat the vegetable oil in the wok over medium heat until it is just starting to shimmer, about 350°F. Add the scallion whites and ginger to the wok and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the chile powder and Sichuan peppercorn powder and stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until the oil has turned red. Add the chile bean paste and fermented black beans and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

Step four

Drain the tofu and add it to the wok. Return the cooked ground beef to the wok. Stir in all the sauce ingredients. Cover the wok and simmer over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the tofu has absorbed the flavors.

Ingredients

Part 3: For the Sauce
  • chicken stock,3/4,cup,or water,
  • Shaoxing cooking wine,2,tablespoons,,shaoxing-cooking-wine
  • soy sauce,1,tablespoon,,pearl-river-light-soy-sauce
  • tapioca starch,2,tablespoons,,tapioca-flour
  • Chinese leeks,2,,cut crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices,
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Ingredients

Part 3: For the Sauce
  • chicken stock,3/4,cup,or water,
  • Shaoxing cooking wine,2,tablespoons,,shaoxing-cooking-wine
  • soy sauce,1,tablespoon,,pearl-river-light-soy-sauce
  • tapioca starch,2,tablespoons,,tapioca-flour
  • Chinese leeks,2,,cut crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices,
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Step five

In a small bowl, mix the tapioca starch with 2 tablespoons water to make a slurry. Stir it into the broth and cook until the broth has thickened, about 1 minute. Add the leek slices and simmer for 30 seconds, until they just turn bright green.