Mapo Tofu kind of perfectly sums up what I love about Sichuan cuisine. It's feisty and slightly out of control, and yet it still feels homey and relaxed. Sure, the chili bean paste adds a wallop of heat, and the Sichuan peppercorns numb the inside of your mouth, but it's not overly greasy or heavy. It's meaty, but as much of the umami punch comes form the fermented black beans as the ground pork. This recipe comes from Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty, and she really hit the necessary balance here.
'Land of Plenty' on Serious Eats
By far the smallest kidneys I've had the pleasure of cooking, these lamb kidneys pack a lot of aroma into one small package. I had originally planned to grill the kidneys but after one whiff, I knew they needed plenty of tongue-numbing chilies and pepper and alcohol (like rice wine) to counter their assertive smell, so I went with this recipe for fried kidneys by Fuchsia Dunlop.