I first made mapo tofu or mapo doufu last year and it quickly became one of my favorite meals. The version of the mapo tofu that I had been using was based on a Japanese version of the recipe that replaced some of the harder to get Chinese ingredients with more commonly available ingredients. Even though I really enjoyed the mapo tofu recipe that I had, I had alway wanted to try making a more authentic version of the recipe. When I made my recent trip to Chinatown to get the Sichuan peppercorns (花椒) I also picked up the other ingredients that I was missing for the mapo tofu. The first ingredient was Doubanjiang (豆瓣酱) which is a spicy fermented bean paste and the second ingredient was Douchi (豆豉) which are fermented black beans. Armed with my three new ingredients I was ready to make a new version of mapo tofu.
This version is a slight variation on the original version where the black bean sauce is replaced by the fermented black beans and the chili bean paste. The Sichuan peppercorns were of course added as well. (I really enjoy toasting the Sichuan peppercorns as they smell really good.) I think my tolerance for heat is increasing as I needed to add more chili sauce than I normally do. A good rule of thumb to follow is to add the chili heat slowly and taste test before adding more. That way it will not end up too hot. This version turned out to be really tasty and I really enjoyed it!! The chili bean paste was really flavourful I look forward to using it again. Of course fermented black beans are one of my favorite flavours from Chinese cuisine and now I have a whole container full. Now I just need to find some more good Chinese recipes.
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons ginger (chopped)
1 tablespoon fermented black beans (soaked in water for 20 minutes and chopped)
2 tablespoons chili bean paste
2 tablespoons chili sauce (or to taste)
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (toasted & ground)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound firm tofu (cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
1 bunch green onions (chopped)
1. Brown the pork in a pan and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in the pan.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add fermented black beans, chili bean paste, chili sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, soy sauce, and chicken stock and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
5. Add the tofu and cook until the tofu is warm.
6. Serve and garnish with green onion.
Dan Dan Mian
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