Oh my lord. Some days you feel like a nut, some days you feel like tofu. Amirite? No? Well, fine, be that way. There are, however, days you want a quick and tasty dinner for the absolute minimum effort. For some, that means calling the pizza guy or rummaging around the depths of the freezer for a Marie Stouffer-Totino’s Lean Pocket Something Something. But that isn’t how we roll here at PassionFruit Enterprises, is it? Mais non!

Thus this slightly hacked riff on mapo dofu, one of my favorite Chinese dishes. The soft, yielding tofu gets a major flavor upgrade thanks to several somewhat surprising ingredients and the singular numbing zing of Sichuan peppercorns ties it all together. The latter can be kind of hard to come by–until recently they were banned from the U.S. over citrus canker fears–but there’s literally nothing else in the world that remotely tastes like it. By that reason alone, you should go get some.

The dish itself is super easy–procuring your pepper is probably the most complicated part–and it can be ready to eat by the time your rice is done. On a harried weeknight, what could be better? Most dishes benefit from freshly minced garlic, just-grated ginger, and other fiddly a la minute additions. Not so this… all that and more is already in the bottles chilling out on your refrignerator door. Just cube that tofu, mix up that sauce, and you’re ready to go. Let’s get to it…

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