1-2tablespoonchili oil(depending on desired spiciness)
chopped green onionsfor garnish
Mix the broth, broad bean paste, soy sauce, salt, sugar, sake, 1 tbsp. ground Sichuan peppercorns, 1 tbsp. chili oil and sesame oil in a bowl. Set aside.
Stir fry the pork in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking up the pieces as it cooks. Add the garlic when the pork is halfway done.
Stir in the sauce.
Add the cubed tofu to the top of the pork mixture in an even layer, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove lid and stir carefully to fully coat the tofu in the sauce.
Add cornstarch mixture slowly to thicken. Stir carefully until thick and glossy.
Remove from heat and serve, garnished with scallions, chili oil and the remaining ground Sichuan peppercorns.
Serve with steamed rice.
How to adjust the spice level: This dish is spicy by nature. I adjust the heat of the dish by using more or less chili oil. The Sichuan peppercorns add more of a numbing quality instead of spice to the dish. You can reduce the amount used, but I highly recommend using the amount called for in the recipe as it acts as a wonderful flavor enhancer.
Stir the tofu very gently to prevent it from breaking up and becoming mush. We want the cubes to stay intact.
Add the cornstarch mixture slowly while gently stirring over medium heat. If your sauce is still to thin, make more cornstarch slurry (1 part cornstarch to 2 parts water) and slowly add it until the desired consistency has been reached (should be thick and slightly glossy). If it's a too thick, add a touch of chicken broth to thin it add.
You can add additional salt to taste if desired. I don't typically find this necessary, but everyone's tastes are different.