Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐 @ S$8.80 (small) / S$16.80 (large)Beancurd in Spicy Minced Meat SauceCredit: Lao Si Chuan Restaurant
Mapo Tofu is not Chef Tang’s specialty so whilst it was tasty, there was not much Ma 麻, or tongue-numbing quality in this dish. This is a pity because the dish typically triggers a tingling sensation on the tongue. This is a tasty complement to some steamed rice and suitable for those who are just starting to eat Sichuan food and are afraid of the tongue-numbing sensation.
(optional) 1 tablespoon green part of chopped green onion for garnish
(optional) steamed rice to serve with
Combine ground pork, cooking wine, soy sauce, and ginger in a bowl. Mix well.
Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Cut and prep tofu and herbs.
Prepare 1 cup hot water.
Heat vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet. When oil is hot, add ground meat and Doubanjiang. Stir-fry over medium heat with a spatula, until pork is evenly coated with Doubanjiang. Add green onion and stir fry for another minute.
Spread tofu evenly on top of ground pork (*See footnote 2). Add chili oil, five-spice powder, and sugar. Pour on hot water. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tofu becomes tender and the sauce has reduced to half the original amount. Taste the tofu with some broth (be careful, it will be very hot!). Adjust seasoning by adding salt. If the dish is too spicy, add another teaspoon of sugar. Gently mix well with spatula.
Mix cornstarch water again until fully dissolved and swirl it into the skillet. Gently stir a few times with a spatula, until sauce thickens. Turn off heat and transfer everything to a bowl.
Garnish with green onion (if using). Serve warm over steamed rice or by itself as main.