Ma po tofu #1

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
4 \N Blocks of bean curd (what is that; a pound, two pounds?)
1 pounds Ground pork or beef
1 teaspoon Garlic (naw; I use at least 2 tsp.)
2 tablespoons Hot bean paste (or 2 1/2 - maybe even 3 tbsp.)
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
1½ cup Chicken broth (maybe 2 cups)
3 \N Green onions; cut into 1/2 inch lengths
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorn powder
1 tablespoon Cornstarch

1. Cut the bean curd into ½ inch cubes. If it's a good, hard bean curd, you can cut them a little smaller.

2. Put the bean curd in the wok, with enough water to cover it, on high heat. When the bean curd cubes begin to float to the top, drain and remove from the wok. (If you're using a soft bean curd, skip this step, or you won't have any bean curd left to cook.) 3. Fry the meat over high heat, breaking it up, until it's all browned.

4. Add the garlic, hot bean paste, soy sauce, chicken broth, and bean curd to the meat. Toss them about for a bit, so that they all get to know one another. Make sure all the bean curd soaks up some of the juice, otherwise it'll taste like so much styrofoam.

5. Add the green onions and Szechuan peppercorn powder and continue to stir for a minute or so.

6. If it looks like soup, mix 1 T cornstarch with 1 T of water to make a thin paste and add it to the mess. If it still looks too runny, do it again. Don't overdo this, you don't want to get rid of all the sauce - you just don't want it to be a soup. I often skip this step.

7. Serve over rice. Yum!


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