Mapo Tofu (Pork and Tofu in a Hot Bean Sauce

2 tsp peanut oil

1/3 lb ground pork

2 T fresh minced ginger

2 T minced garlic

2 1/2 T bean sauce

2 tsp sambal oelek

4 scallions, trimmed and chopped

1 block (16 oz.) firm tofu, sliced into ½” cubes

1 ½ cups chicken stock

2 T cornstarch mixed a little water

1 1/2 T Hsiao Shing (Chinese rice wine), or dry sherry

1 T Chinese soy sauce

½ tsp ground Sichuan pepper

sesame oil for garnish (optional)

Have the ingredients ready near the stove. The ginger and garlic can be combined (in fact, you can wiz them together in a food processor if you wish). Combine the cornstarch, wine and soy sauce in a small bowl.

Heat the peanut oil in a heavy pot, then add the ground pork and stir until the pork is no longer pink. Add the ginger and garlic and stir until the garlic is golden brown. Add the bean sauce and sambal oelek, the scallions and stir for 30 seconds, then add the chicken stock and the tofu. Stir to combine everything, then add the bowl of cornstarch, wine and soy sauce. Cook, stirring, until the liquid has thickened (add more cornstarch mixed with water, if desired).

Serve in deep bowls, with a little Sichuan pepper sprinkled on top of each serving. Dribble on a little sesame oil (about 3/4 tsp), if desired. Serve while hot.

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