Traditionally made with ground beef or pork, this is a vegetarian version.


  • 1-1¼ lb (500 - 600 g) plain white tofu
  • Salt
  • 4 baby leeks or scallions, green parts only
  • 4 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2½ tbsp Sichuan chili bean paste
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp ground red chilies
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • ½ cup (100 ml) water or stock
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp potato flour mixed with
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • ¼-½ tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper


  1. Cut the tofu into ¾ in (2 cm) cubes and steep in very hot, lightly salted water. Don’t let the water boil.
  2. Slice leeks/onions into horse ears by cutting at a steep angle.
  3. Heat wok over high flame. Add oil and swirl around.
  4. Reduce heat, add chilli bean paste and stir fry until oil is red and fragrant. Don’t overheat any of the seasonings, all should sizzle gently.
  5. Add beans and ground chillies, stir-fry for a few seconds.
  6. Add garlic and ginger.
  7. Gently remove tofu from water with a slotted spoon, shake off excess water and add to wok. Mix tofu with sauce without breaking it up.
  8. Add water/stock, white pepper and salt, mix gently.
  9. Bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes.
  10. Add leek slices, and cook till tender. If using scallions, add them at the end.
  11. Stir in small amounts of flour and water mixture until sauce clings to seasongs and tofu.
  12. Sprinkle with ground roasted Sichuan pepper and serve.