Weeknight Mapo tofu is a one pan wonder! Tofu with ground pork and green onions in a black bean and garlic sauce with Sichuan pepper has authentic flavor, but simplified just enough so you can make it any night of the week without compromising that unique character.
Drain and slice the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth, then add one cup water and stir well, set aside.
Heat the oil in a wok, large skillet, or Dutch oven. Add the black bean sauce, soy sauce, Sichuan pepper, 5 spice powder, chili oil, and sugar. Saute, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes.
Add the ground pork to the pan and saute until thoroughly cooked, breaking up the meat with your spatula as it cooks.
You want the meat to be broken down as much as possible, so keep at it the whole time. It should look finely textured, like the photo.
Add the scallions and cook briefly to soften them.
Deglaze the pan with the rice wine and let bubble for a minute. Give the cornstarch water a good stir and add to the pan. Bring the pot up to a summer, stirring almost constantly. Note: take this opportunity, before the tofu goes in, to taste the sauce. Adjust it with extra spices if you like. If you find it too spicy, add a little more sugar.
Carefully add the tofu to the pan, covering the whole surface evenly. Don't stir in. Bring back to a simmer, then cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, on a low heat. Note: make sure the pot is at a low simmer, and adjust heat accordingly. You don't want it to boil furiously.
Remove the cover, and shake the pan, shimmying it so that the tofu settles into the sauce. I do this so I don't risk breaking up the tofu by stirring. Let cook gently, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes more until the tofu is nice and hot.
Garnish with more sliced scallions and serve as is, over with rice.
If you like you can add fresh grated garlic and ginger to the pan in step 1.