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Ma-Po Tofu


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  • 2 packages Chinese-style tofu cut small cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Szechwan peppercorns
  • 3 wood ear mushrooms - (to 4)
  • 2 large fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms - (to 3)
  • 1 large pork chop fat left on
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fermented black beans rinsed, drained, and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot bean sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, including tops cut 1" lengths
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil


Servings 6


Step 1

Place the tofu in a mixing bowl and cover with boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain. Heat and stir the peppercorns in a dry wok until they begin to smoke and smell of pepper. In a mortar, grind the peppercorns into a fine powder. Soak the wood ear mushrooms in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and slice into small sections. If using dried shiitakes, soak for 20 minutes in hot water. Drain and chop into matchstick pieces. Slice the pork into small pieces.

Mix together the ginger, garlic, beans, and bean sauce. Heat the oil in a wok and stir-fry the pork until the color changes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon. Quickly stir-fry the garlic mixture. Add to the meat. Let the wok cool a little and add the broth or water. Add the drained tofu and cook gently until the liquid reduces somewhat. Stir in the shiitake mushrooms, wood ears, and pork and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, water, and soy sauce together. If necessary, adjust thickening. Add the onions and sesame oil, and serve immediately.

This recipe yields 6 first course servings.

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