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Mapo Tofu: Spicy Sichuan Tofu and Beef

Mapo Tofu, a fiery Sichuan classic, is a harmonious blend of silken tofu and minced beef, engulfed in a spicy, pungent sauce that tantalizes the taste buds. This dish, known for its bold flavors, represents the Sichuan culinary philosophy of complexity and balance. Its unique combination of textures – the softness of tofu contrasting with the chewiness of beef – and flavors – the heat of the chili contrasting with the numbing Sichuan peppercorns – make Mapo Tofu a delight to savor. Let’s embark on a culinary journey to recreate this spicy Sichuan tofu and beef marvel at home.

Mapo Tofu: Spicy Sichuan Tofu and Beef

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of silken tofu, cut into cubes
  • 200 grams of minced beef
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of doubanjiang (fermented bean paste)
  • 1 tablespoon of gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • For the slurry:
    • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
    • 3 tablespoons of water

Cooking Steps:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, ginger, doubanjiang, gochujang, and crushed Sichuan peppercorns. Stir-fry until fragrant.
  • Add the minced beef to the pan and cook until browned. Break up any large chunks of beef with a spatula.
  • Add the chicken broth to the pan and bring to a simmer. Gently add the tofu cubes to the pan and stir carefully to avoid breaking them.
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the tofu to absorb the flavors.
  • Mix the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Pour this into the pan and stir gently until the sauce thickens.
  • Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the top of the dish just before serving.

In conclusion, Mapo Tofu is a dish that beautifully showcases the bold, spicy flavors of Sichuan cuisine. The key to a delicious Mapo Tofu lies in the quality of ingredients and careful cooking to preserve tofu’s delicate texture. Always select fresh tofu and high-quality beef for the best results. The dish is not only a delight for the palate but also packed with health benefits. The tofu provides a good source of protein and essential amino acids, while the beef offers iron and B-vitamins. So, the next time you crave a spicy, flavorful meal, consider the Mapo Tofu, a true celebration of Sichuan flavors.

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