Let’s cut the aromatic vegetables. Thinly slice the ginger and cut it into fine strips. Chop it into fine pieces. Make vertical cuts in the garlic clove, slice across the initial cuts and chop it into fine pieces.
Make a cut in the long green onion lengthwise. Turning it halfway over, make another cut across the first, quartering the onion lengthwise. Chop the long green onion into fine pieces.
As you can see, it is helpful to prepare all of the ingredients before you start cooking so that you won’t fumble in the kitchen.
Let’s prepare the prawns for ebi chili. Peel the prawns and remove the tails. Remove the sand veins with a bamboo stick.
Make a shallow cut along the back of each.
Rub the prawns with salt. Add the potato starch and toss to coat. Put in a bit of water and rub the prawns with the starch.
Take the bowl to the sink. Rinse the prawns in the bowl under running water, discarding the water several times until it is clear. Place the prawns on a mesh strainer and drain well.
Spread the prawns on a paper towel. Cover with another paper towel and roll them up. Gently press with your hands to remove the excess water. Place the prawns in a bowl.
Sprinkle on the salt and pepper. Add the sake and toss to coat well. Add the egg white and potato starch and continue to mix.
Let’s stir-fry the prawns. Put the vegetable oil in the heated pan. Swirl the pan to coat it with the oil. Spread the prawns in the pan and adjust the heat to medium.
When the edges of the prawns begin to redden, flip them over. Lightly fry the other side and remove. At this stage, the prawns are not yet cooked all the way.
Let’s make the ebi chili sauce. Put the vegetable oil in the heated pan. Add the chopped garlic, ginger, chili bean paste and tomato ketchup.
Stir-fry the mixture on medium heat. When the aroma grows stronger, reduce the heat to low and continue to stir-fry.
Add the Chinese-style chicken stock, which is made from instant chicken stock powder. Add the sake, salt and sugar to the sauce. Mix and bring the sauce to a boil.
Drop in the prawns and chopped long green onion.
Dissolve the potato starch in water and pour it over the onion. Toss to coat well. If you think the sauce is too thin, gradually add the dissolved starch and mix.
Finally, sprinkle on the vinegar and stir to combine.
Turn off the burner and serve the piping hot ebi chili in a bowl.
Do not overcook the prawns otherwise they will become small and tough and the texture will not be enjoyable.
Using plenty of aromatic vegetables, such as garlic, ginger and long green onions will increase the flavor.
Let's drain the firm tofu. Remove the tofu from the package. Wrap the tofu with a thick paper towel. Use a dish as a weight and let the tofu sit for 20 minutes. If the room temperature is high, let the tofu sit in a fridge.
Let's cut the vegetables. Remove the root end of the garlic clove. Crush the garlic clove with the flat side of a knife. Remove the skin and chop the garlic into fine pieces.
Slice the ginger thinly. Stack the slices on top of each other and cut them into fine strips. Turn the strips and chop across the ginger.
Remove the root ends of the garlic chives. Cut the chives in half and chop them into half inch pieces.
Here is the Chinese-style chicken stock powder. Pour hot water in the heatproof measuring cup. Stir and dissolve the chicken stock well.
Dissolve the potato starch in twice its volume of water.
After 20 minutes of draining, gently remove the paper towel from the tofu. Be careful not to break it. First, slice the tofu horizontally and divide into 2 blocks. Next, cut vertically across the tofu. Finally, dice up the tofu into 3/4 inch cubes.
Let's make Mapo Tofu. Heat up the pan and pour in the sesame oil. Swirl the pan to coat it with oil. Stir-fry the ground pork at hight heat while breaking it into small pieces.
When the pork is thoroughly cooked and the color of pork fat becomes clear, add chopped garlic and ginger and reduce the heat to medium. Stir-fry until aromatic.
Move the pork to one side and make an extra space on the pan. Put the doubanjiang and tian mian jiang directly on the heated surface and fry at low heat to increase the flavor. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
Mix the condiments and pork together and stir-fry until evenly browned. Add the sake and stir until the moisture is gone.
Add the chicken stock, soy sauce and sake to the mixture and stir lightly.
Put in the tofu cubes and gently spread them in the pan. Bring the sauce to a boil at high heat. When it boils, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for two to three minutes. The tofu's moisture gets reduced and it will absorb the flavor of the sauce. This process will reduce the tofu's moisture and let the tofu absorb the flavour of the sauce.
Add in the garlic chives and gently stir with the wooden spatula. Mix and dissolve the potato starch evenly before adding it to the Mapo Tofu. Lift the pan from the burner and pour in the potato starch while swirling the pan.
Gently mix the content by sliding the spatula away from you, otherwise the tofu easily breaks into pieces. Heat over high heat for around 30 seconds and it's ready to serve.
Turn off the burner and serve the Mapo Tofu in the bowl. Sprinkle on Sichuan pepper if you like the unique aroma and flavor.
After adding the potato starch, heat the Mapo Tofu well until thickened, otherwise it will get runny when served.
You can also serve the Mapo Tofu on a rice bowl, making it Mapo Tofu donburi.
Doubanjiang, Tian Mian Jiang and Sichuan Pepper are found in the Chinese food section of most major grocery stores.