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vegetarian mapo tofu


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Servings: 4


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Step 1

1 Combine the shiitake mushrooms and cup of warm water in a mixing bowl

Step 2

2 Soak for 15 to 20 minutes, then lift out the mushrooms and transfer to a cutting board, squeezing as much moisture out of them as you can back into the bowl

Step 3

3 Reserve the soaking water, straining it through a fine sieve if it has grit or dirt

Step 4

4 Discard the stems, then finely chop the shiitake mushroom caps

Step 5

5 Add the chili bean paste, rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and Sichuan pepper (to taste) to the bowl of mushroom soaking water, stirring to incorporate

Step 6

6 This will be your sauce

Step 7

7 Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat

Step 8

8 It is hot enough when a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact

Step 9

9 Add the peanut or vegetable oil and swirl to coat

Step 10

10 Add the mushrooms; stir-fry for 2 minutes, until the mushrooms are crispy

Step 11

11 Reduce the heat to medium; add the black bean sauce, white parts of the scallions, garlic and ginger; stir-fry for about 1 minute, until fragrant

Step 12

12 Pour in the mushroom-mixture sauce; once the liquid starts to boil, reduce to a gentle bubbling over medium-low heat

Step 13

13 The liquid in the pan should now be a nice red color

Step 14

14 Gently add the tofu cubes, being careful to not move them around too much so they don't break up

Step 15

15 Cook for 2 to 3 minutes so the tofu absorbs the sauce

Step 16

16 You can spoon some of the sauce over the tofu cubes to help better coat them

Step 17

17 Carefully push the tofu to the sides and create a small well at the center of the pan

Step 18

18 Stir in the cornstarch mixture there

Step 19

19 Cook for another minute, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon

Step 20

20 Transfer to a deep plate or wide bowl, sprinkle the scallion greens on top with additional Sichuan pepper as needed, and serve hot