Revisiting a classic
I posted about ma po tofu back in 2016–sharing Mom's recipe which skews Cantonese with soy and oyster sauce, neglecting the spices that make this a Sichuan classic. Since then I've read up on Sichuan cuisine and the unique spices used throughout the region, which led me to revamping Mom's classic. It still has a bit of her influence, but I've tweaked it and added a few ingredients to make what has become one of my signature dish. Not to brag, but this *might* be one of the best things I've ever made...at least some people have stated this as fact.
Prep: 15 minutes + Overnight marinade | Cook: 30 minutes
INGREDIENTS (FOR 2)
|1/2 lb ground pork*||2 Thai chili pepper|
|1 tbsp soy sauce||1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn|
|1 tbsp oyster sauce||3 tbsp hot bean sauce|
|1 lb medium firm tofu||2 stalk of scallion|
|1 garlic clove||Handful of cilantro|
|1 tbsp of ginger||1 tsp chili oil (optional)|
*You can sub in ground beef, turkey, or chicken.
1. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, and 1 tbsp of hot bean sauce to the ground pork. Let marinate overnight.
2. When you're ready to prepare the dish, take the pork out of the fridge and set aside.
3. Take the tofu out of the packaging and let it soak in a salt brine for 15 minutes, this will keep it from falling apart when your stir fry it.
4. Roughly chop up the Thai chili pepper, mince the garlic, mince the ginger.
5. Chop scallion and cilantro. Set aside.
6. Cube the tofu into 1/2-1 inch pieces.
1. Heat oil in a skillet and toss in garlic, ginger, and Thai chili pepper, constantly stirring until aromatic, but not burnt, about 30 seconds. Toss in 1 tbsp of hot bean sauce and ground Sichuan peppercorn. Continue stirring.
2. Break up the pork and scatter evenly into the pan, mixing it well into the sauce.
3. After about three minutes, or when pork is no longer pink add the tofu and mix in the rest of the hot bean sauce. Stir well and cover the pan to cook for a few minutes.
4. Uncover pan, toss in the scallion and cilantro and continue stirring for another few minutes. Turn off the heat and mix in the chili oil.
Scoop into a bowl and toss in more scallion. Serve with a side of rice and maybe some milk, it's going to get hotttttt.