2 pcs. beancurd (about 2 cups)
4 oz. minced meat (beef preferred)
3 tablespoons broad-bean hot sauce of Sichuan
3 tablespoons lard
1 tablespoon soya sauce
2 teaspoons fermented soya beans, salted
a teaspoon each of scallion, ginger root and garlic, all minced
2 teaspoons cornflour in 2 tablespoons water
a pinch of Chinese prickly ash
1) Cut beancurd in 3/4-inch cubes. Parboil in water, remove and drain.
Chop fine broad-bean hot sauce with back of cleaver.
Wash fermented beans. Chop fine.
2) Heat lard in pan. Before it is very hot, add minced meat and stir-fry. Follow with broad-bean hot sauce and continue to stir-fry till the gravy becomes red and smells good. Add fermented beans, soya sauce, minced scallion, ginger and garlic. Stir and add about a cup of hot water. Bring stock to a boil and put in beancurd cubes. Simmer over low flame for about 5 minutes. Add cornflour solution to thicken the sauce. Serve in a bowl, with a little prickly ash sprinkled on.
(1) This dish originated in the suburbs of Chengdu, Sichuan Province with a pock-marked woman by the name of Chen who operated a small restaurant there. As it gave a unique blending of prickly, hot, peppery, delicious and aromatic taste, the dish became known far and wide and people today still call it "The Pockmarked Woman's Beancurd".
(2) Chinese prickly ash is made by roasting Chinese peppercorn and then crushing it, while hot, with a rolling pin into powder.