This is NOT the Americanized version of this classic Sichuan dish: this is the real deal! You can find Sichuan peppercorns at a Chinese grocery store on the cheap, or you can order them online. The Sichuan peppercorns give this dish its characteristic tingly sensation and spicy flavor. If you don’t have both dark and light soy sauce, you can just use 2 tsp of the soy sauce you have.
Time: 30 minutes
Adapted from Appetite for China
- 16 ounces dou gan or extra firm tofu
- 2 to 3 gloves garlic, minced
- 5 slices of ginger
- 5 to 6 scallions, roughly chopped, plus some thinly sliced scallions for optional garnish
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- At least 10 dried red chilis (add more for more spice)
- 1 tbsp whole Sichuan peppercorns (or ½ tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns)
- At least one handful of dry roasted peanuts
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine or medium dry sherry
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp dark Soy sauce
- 1 tsp light Soy sauce
- 2 tsp dark rice vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp chicken stock or water
1. Cube the tofu and mix in the marinade ingredients. Let stand while you prepare the other ingredients.
2. If you haven’t done so already, mince the garlic and peel and slice the ginger. Roughly chop the white parts of scallions, and thinly slice the green parts for garnish (optional.) Either leave the dried chilis whole, or slice them in half and take out as many seeds as possible.
3. In another bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. (Note: Different brands of soy sauces vary in terms of saltiness, so taste your sauce. If it’s too salty, add some sugar and water to dilute.)
4. Heat a wok with oil over high heat. Before the wok begins to smoke, add the chilis and Sichuan peppercorn. Stir-fry briefly until the chilis are slightly blistered and oil is slightly fragrant.
5. Add tofu and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
7. Pour in sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients.
8. When the sauce is thickened and shiny, stir in peanuts.
9. Transfer to plates, garnish with thinly sliced scallions, and serve.