This is where I post recipes for S*an
(from memory, adapted from fuchsia dunlop)
1 block of tofu (silken preferred)
.5–.75 lb of ground beef
2 tbsp. of cooking oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch knob of ginger, miced
1 big leek, horse-eared
handful of dried red peppers
1.5 cups of stock (chicken or dashi)
2-3 tbsp. of hot chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
2 tbsp. of shaoxing rice wine (or sake)
2 tbsp. fermented black beans, soaked and drained
2 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. of chili oil (mala preferred)
corn starch slurry, about 2 tbsp.
big pinch of salt, to taste
small dusting of sugar
1. gently cut tofu into one inch cubes. in a medium pot, bring water to a boil. when it comes to a boil, salt it, then turn heat down to a bare simmer. very carefully, slide cubed tofu into the pot and let simmer for about a minute. use a mesh strainer or slotted spoon to take tofu out of the water, very delicately. rest on paper towel. this step helps draw out some excess moisture so it doesn't water down the flavors of the dish.
2. heat cooking oil in a large enamel pot, or well seasoned wok preferred. drop in ground beef and break it up into crumbles as it cooks, rendering the fat. once the beef has browned nicely, use a slotted spoon to transfer onto a dish. reserve the fat at the bottom of the pot.
3. on medium high heat, add minced garlic, ginger to the pot and stir-fry until fragrant. then add dried red peppers and black beans, tossing around for about a minute. then add hot chili bean paste, stir-fry until fragrant. follow with sugar, soy sauce, and rice wine. gently stir to loosen bits from the bottom of the pot.
4. add stock to the pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. very gently slide in the cooked tofu, making sure not to pour in any excess water. gently nudge the tofu around so they're evenly distributed. let simmer on medium for roughly 15 minutes, undisturbed.
5. after 15 minutes, add the browned ground beef in. gently fold it in, pushing from the sides of the pot into the center, so as not to break up the tofu. taste the sauce to make sure it's seasoned correctly. then add leeks in and simmer again for 5 minutes until lightly cooked (i like my leeks al dente).
6. mix up the starch slurry and add it to the pot. gently mix it in using the same method above, pushing in from the sides. once thickened, transfer to a dish, top with chili oil and serve with rice! white pepper, mala pepper, scallions, and cilantro as garnish could be nice if you have on hand.