by Debra Wysopal

This is perhaps my favorite comfort food – spicy and silky, the tofu really takes on the spiciness of the dish and it is just delicious. Szechuan Peppercorns are the signature of this dish, but if you have hot chili flakes, they will work beautifully, we are all just getting by in self-isolation. Because I get ground pork in 1lb portions, I double this recipe. This recipe is from “My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruch Reichl. A book I’ve been curled up with for the past day.

Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 15 voted )


  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 TBS Chinese Black Bean sauce with Chili
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 knob fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 bunch scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 lb soft tofu
  • 1 TBS corn starch
  • 2 TSP Szechuan Peppercorns or Hot Pepper Flakes to taste
  • Peanut or Grapeseed oil for cooking
  • Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 LB Ground Pork


Pour chicken stock into measuring cup. Add Chinese black bean and soy sauces. Set aside.

Chop 2 tablespoons of ginger and mince or smash an equal amount of garlic. Add red pepper flakes, to taste, if using instead of Szechuan peppercorns.  Set aside. 

Slice 4 scallions very thin, separating the white and green parts.   

Drain block of tofu and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Put cornstarch into a small dish and stir in 2 tablespoons water to make a completely smooth slurry. Toast Szechuan peppercorns for a minute or so in hot dry skillet until they are fragrant. Allow to cool and then grind to a powder.  

Set all those little dishes out next to your wok, along with some peanut or grapeseed oil, the bottle of toasted sesame oil, and the ground pork.

Heat wok until it is very hot. Coat it with peanut or grapeseed oil and add the garlic, white part of the scallions and ginger (and chili flakes, if subbing), tossing quickly just until they become fragrant. Add pork and cook quickly, stirring and breaking up meat until it goes from pink to gray. Add chicken stock mixture, then stir and toss in the tofu. Cook for a couple of minutes until tofu begins to fall apart. Stir in cornstarch mixture and allow sauce to thicken. Stir gently, trying to keep as much tofu in tact as possible.  Add a splash of sesame oil and scallion greens, toss it all together and sprinkle on the Szechuan peppercorns. Serve with white rice.


Regular peppercorns will not work here.

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