- Marinate the pork: Combine the ground pork, low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, ground white pepper, and sesame oil in a medium sized bowl. Mix well to combine, then set aside.
- Make the sauce: Mix together the low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, Chinkiang vinegar, dark soy sauce, sweet bean sauce, white sugar, sesame oil, pure chili oil (if using), and water in a large measuring cup (for easier pouring) or bowl until combined well.
- Prepare the fresh and dry ingredients: Drain the water from the package of tofu and pat-dry the block with kitchen paper towels. Gently squeeze so that the paper towel absorbs the water. Place the block on a cutting board and cut into ¾-inch cubes. Set aside. Chop the garlic, ginger, spring onion (separate the white and light green parts from the dark green parts), fresh red chilies, and dried red chilies as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section. Place the fermented black beans in a small fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water from the sink until the water runs clear. Set aside.
For the Braised Tofu and Pork with Pickled Chilies:
- Cook the pork: Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large wok over high heat. Once hot, add the marinated pork and cook for 1 minute, breaking up the clumps with your spatula until just cooked through. Transfer to a clean bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of pork fat from the wok.
- Sauté the pickled red chilies and black beans: Add 2 tablespoons peanut oil to the wok and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add the pickled red chilies and sauté for 20-30 seconds. Add the fermented black beans and sauté for another 20 seconds until aromatic.
- Stir-fry the aromatics: Add the garlic, ginger, and spring onion white and light green parts. Stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Toss the chilies: Add the fresh and dried red chilies and toss for 30 second to combine.
- Stir in the sauce: Pour the sauce into the wok and stir to combine. Simmer for a minute.
- Add the tofu and pork: Carefully add the tofu cubes and cooked pork and stir gently to combine. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to let the flavors meld.
- Stir in the potato starch slurry: Mix together the 1 tablespoon potato starch and 3 tablespoons water in a measuring cup (or bowl) until combined. Stir in the slurry until combined well, taking care to not break the tofu cubes. Simmer for a minute until thickened. If the sauce thickens too much too quickly, add a splash of water or two until your desired consistency is reached.
- Stir through spring onion greens: Stir in most of the spring onion dark green parts (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish), then switch off the heat.
- To Serve: Transfer to a serving bowl/dish and garnish with the reserved spring onion. Serve immediately with warm steamed rice.