Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spicy Szechuan Tofu توفو زيستشواني حارّ

Sure, you might want to try this recipe because it’s good for you, but you would also be right on target to try it because it’s zesty and redolent with Asian tang. Tofu is s highly versatile ingredient absorbing any flavors you want it to have, in this case, spicy chili paste, sesame oil, garlic and fresh ginger.

  • 6 squares firm tofu
  • 2 T peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t minced fresh ginger
  • 1 T hot Szechuan chili paste
  • 1 T dark soy sauce
  • ½ t sugar
  • 1 T rice wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 t Szechuan peppercorns, ground*
  • 1/3 cup diced scallions
  • 1 T sesame oil

  1. Cut tofu into ½ inch cubes.
  2. In a wok or skillet, bring peanut oil to a high heat. Add ground pork and stir fry** until all pieces are separated and pork loses its pink color.
  3. Add garlic and salt, stir frying just until the flavor is released.
  4. Add ginger, chili paste and tofu, stir frying very gently.
  5. Add soy sauce, sugar and wine, stir frying until mixed.
  6. Pour in stock, mixing until it begins to boil and then add cornstarch mixed with 2 T water.
  7. Stir fry gently until sauce thickens.
  8. Sprinkle with peppercorn powder, scatter on scallions and drizzle with sesame oil to serve.

* You can grind them in a spice mill or just put them in a baggie and role a bottle or rolling pin over them.
** “Stir frying” is a misnomer. There is no stirring in stir frying. The technique is to slide the spatula underneath the food at the center of the wok, lift it up and turn it over. Then repeat this procedure from a different angle. Thus, the top surface becomes the bottom surface and all gets cooked evenly. Always heat your wok first before adding the oil. Get your wok as hot as possible without burning the oil. Don’t use a nonstick pan.

Photographer Bill Brady
Written by Victor Ribaudo

Recipe Provided by Phyllis Kirigin, aka sweetpaprika