This is a great Sichuan dish that was invented by Ding Baochen, the dearly loved governor of Sichuan in the nineteenth century. Its numbing, spicy sweet and tangy flavours are delicious with crispy fried tofu or, if you like meat, fry seasoned chicken strips first, then follow the rest of the steps. Also, if you’d prefer a healthier alternative to fried tofu, use smoked firm tofu instead.
This recipe is from Stir Crazy by Ching-He Huang, published by Kyle Books, £19.99. Photography by Tamin Jones
Ingredients for Kung Po Tofu Serves: 2
For the sauce
How to make Kung Po Tofu
Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small glass jug, then set aside.
Heat a wok over a high heat until smoking and add the rapeseed oil. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chillies and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the tofu cubes and stir-fry for 1 minute until the tofu is seared at the edges. Add the Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry, then the red pepper and cook for just under 30 seconds.
Give the sauce a quick stir, then pour into the wok and bring to the boil. When the sauce has reduced and is thicker and slightly sticky, add the peanuts or cashew nuts, followed by the spring onions and cook for 1 minute. Stir to mix everything together well, then transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.