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Remove the tofu from the plastic carton onto a plate and let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the excess liquid to drain. Next, place the tofu on a flat surface lined with clean kitchen towels or paper towels and pat the sides dry. Transfer to a cutting board.
Cut the tofu into ½-inch cubes and allow them to continue to drain for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine 1/3 cup cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, 5 spice powder, salt and water until a thick batter forms. Add the tofu and gently toss in the batter until thoroughly coated.
Prepare the sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, salt, rice vinegar, sesame oil, 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 2/3 cup warm water. Stir the sauce until everything is dissolved and combined.
Add 1/4 cup of peanut oil (or vegetable oil) to a medium to large nonstick frying pan over low heat and add 1 cup of the blanched shelled peanuts. Stir the peanuts in the wok for 5 minutes until they are golden brown. You’ll notice the peanuts releasing more oil into the pan. Remove the peanuts from the pan, and set aside, leaving behind any oil in the pan.
Next, adjust the heat to medium, and gently place each cube of tofu in the pan. Let the tofu fry for about 5 minutes, or until the bottoms are browned. Turn the tofu with a spatula (they’ll stick together slightly, which may make it easier to flip a bunch of pieces all at once) and let the other side fry for another 5 minutes until the bottom is browned again. At this point, use a spatula to gently separate any tofu pieces that may be sticking together. Set the tofu aside.
Use 1 ½ tablespoons of the remaining oil from frying the peanuts and tofu to coat your wok. Add the carrots and stir-fry over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the ginger and dried chili peppers.
Toast the ginger and chili peppers for about 20 seconds and add the garlic and scallions. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds. Stir up the pre-mixed sauce with a chopstick or spoon since the cornstarch is likely to have settled, and add the sauce to the wok.
Turn the heat up to high, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Once the sauce begins to thicken and reduce, add the tofu and peanuts.
Toss the tofu and peanuts into the sauce until everything is coated. Keep stir-frying until the sauce has reduced and is clinging to the tofu and peanuts. At this point, you can stir in the Sichuan peppercorn powder, or you can sprinkle it on top. Serve with steamed rice.