A fiery stew of silken tofu, ground pork and heaps of green onion, ma-po tofu is one of the most popular dishes in the Sichuan canon. The secret ingredient is chili bean sauce, a spicy, umami-rich condiment available at Chinese supermarkets.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 oz. ground pork
- 3 tbsp chili bean sauce
- 1 tbsp fermented black beans (optional)
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 lb. silken tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
- 4 green onions, sliced on a bias (whites and greens separated)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp cold water, whisked together
- 1/4 tsp ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns Salt to taste
- Steamed jasmine rice (for serving)
- In a wok or large frying pan, heat oil over high heat. Add pork. Stir-fry until no longer pink, 2 minutes. Turn heat down to medium. Add chili bean sauce and black beans, if using. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add stock, rice wine, soy sauce and sugar. Raise heat to high. When mixture begins to simmer, carefully stir in tofu. Reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add whites of green onion. Simmer 1 minute. Add cornstarch and water mixture. Simmer until sauce thickens, 1 minute.
- Transfer to a warm serving bowl. Sprinkle with peppercorns and green onion greens; season with salt. Serve with jasmine rice.