Serious Eats: Recipes
Real Deal Mapo Dofu
Note: Both the chili bean paste and the Sichuan Peppercorns can be bought online (follow the links) if you don't have a good Chinese market nearby. Use tofu labeled "silken" in a hardness range of medium to firm. Don't try this with the super-soft stuff or it'll fall apart!
You can use store-bought roasted chili oil, or make your own by toasting a cup of whole hot dried Chinese peppers in a wok until lightly charred, then adding 1 1/2 cups of vegetable or canola oil. Heat the oil until the chilis start to bubble slightly, then allow to cool and transfer to a sealable container. Chili oil will stay good in the refrigerator for several months.