The name of this dish has nothing to do with what it should look like, but it describes the appearance of its creator – an old Sichuanese woman who first cooked tofu this way. It’s easy to prepare, making it the perfect dish for a Chinese banquet or a light lunch – eaten alongside a bowl of rice.
Recipe: Pock-marked women’s beancurd (Mapo Dofu)
Serves 4 as side dish, or 2-3 as a main dish
500g tofu, cut into 2cm cubes
3 tbsp groundnut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, sliced
20g chilli bean paste
200ml vegetable stock
1 tsp dark soy
1 tsp light soy
1 tsp potato starch
1 tsp Tianjin preserved vegetable
1 tsp of fermented bean curd
2 spring onions
1 tsp Sichuan pepper
1. Cut the tofu into 2cm squared cubes, and refresh them in gently simmering, lightly-salted water for two minutes. Drain and put to one side.
2. Heat the groundnut oil in a wok, add the garlic, fresh chilli and the chilli bean paste and cook on a low heat until it starts to go a darker colour.
3. Pour the vegetable stock, dark and light soy into the pan, and stir in the potato starch to thicken. Add the Tianjin preserved vegetable and the tofu and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
4. Garnish with slivers of spring onion, and a generous pinch of Sichuan pepper.