When I was in Budapest, my boyfriend and I found this Chinese restaurant around the corner from his parents old apartment. It was a very random area for this phenomenal restaurant. Honestly, the best Chinese food I had ever had before. I was vegetarian at the time, and chose this dish and asked for them to omit the pork, which it is traditionally made with.
Last night, I decided to try to recreate it since I had all the ingredients in my fridge besides the very important ingredient - doubanjiang! This needs to be bought at the specialty Asian store rather than a regular grocery store. Unfortunately, they were actually out of this item 😢 but they had bean paste in chili oil, whereas I needed chili bean paste. But that’s okay it worked out anyway. The important thing was that it was made from broad beans rather than soy beans, because traditional Sichuan dishes are made with broad bean paste.
Here is the recipe I used:
1 block soft tofu
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 lb ground pork
1 1/2 tablespoons doubanjiang, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch whisked into 2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper, or to taste
green onions, to finish
cooked rice or other carbs, to serve
Cut the tofu into small cubes and set aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer then add the tofu and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let soak in the salted water while you prepare the rest of the dish.
In a wok, heat up the oil over medium heat. Add the pork and cook, breaking up, until the fat renders out and the pork is cooked through. Turn down the heat and add the doubanjiang and cook, stirring, until the oils release from the doubanjiang and everything looks bright red.
Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring the heat up so everything comes up to a simmer.
Drain the tofu and add it to the wok, pushing it around gently so you don’t break it.
Stir in the cornstarch slurry and bring up to a gentle simmer, until the sauce is thick and glossy, about 1 minute.
Turn off the heat and scoop the tofu with sauce into a serving dish. Finish with a sprinkle of ground Sichuan peppercorn and sliced green onions.
Enjoy with fluffy white rice or carb of choice.
All I did that was different was use a little extra of the bean paste in oil, drained the oil, and also added some Sambal oelek to add some spice and red tones. I served it with brown rice and zucchini.
This can be made vegan by simply adding more tofu rather than ground pork, and veggie stock instead of chicken!