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Mapo Tofu
   
 

A famous Szechuan recipe - the name Ma Po Tofu is roughly translated as "pockmarked grandmother beancurd," named for the old woman who supposedly invented the dish.

Ingredients:

  • Marinade for Ground Pork:
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tapioca starch (can substitute cornstarch)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Other:
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound regular tofu (medium firmness)
  • 1 leek or 3 green onions
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Chinese salted black beans (fermented black beans, also called Chinese black beans), or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp chili bean paste, or to taste
  • 3 Tbsp stock (chicken broth)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • Freshly ground Szechuan pepper
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, as needed

Preparation:

Mix marinade ingredients.  Marinate pork for about 20 minutes.
Cut the tofu (bean curd) into 1/2 inch (1 cm) square cubes, and blanch (drop into boiling water) for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from boiling water and drain.
Chop leek or green onions into short lengths.
Heat wok and add oil.  When oil is ready, add the marinated pork. Stir-fry pork until the color darkens. Add salt and stir. Add the salted black beans. Mash the beans with a cooking ladle until they blend in well with the meat. Add the chili paste, then the stock, bean curd, and leek or green onions.
Turn down the heat.  Cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
While cooking, mix cornstarch, water, and soy sauce together. Add to wok and stir gently. Serve with freshly ground Szechuan pepper. 
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