This step is optional but firms up the soft tofu a little bit. So for this step, boil water in a large pot and then add cubes of tofu to warm water and let it be there for 4 tp 5 minutes and then remove tofu from water and set aside. You can skip this step.
To a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil (I used avocado oil) and 1 teaspoon chili oil on low-medium heat. Once hot, to that add Sichuan peppercorns. Sauté 1-2 minutes until oil has a nice smell from the peppercorns.Turn off heat and then remove the pan from heat and then using kitchen tweezers remove the peppercorns from oil. Please note that if you prefer the flavor of these peppercorns, you can leave the peppercorns as such and there's no need to remove then.You can also add more peppercorns if you want here. This is just what I preferred.
Put the pan back on heat and turn on the heat again to medium-low and add gochujang. Sauté the paste for 1 to 2 minutes in the oil.
Then add ginger-garlic along with chili bean sauce. Also add the mushrooms to the pan. Stir and increase the heat to medium.
Cook the mushrooms for around 6 minutes until they are caramelized.
Then add water and stir and add the soy sauce and mix.
Also add the sugar and salt and mix well. You can adjust the consistency at this point, if you prefer more sauce, add more water.Meanwhile in a small bowl mix 3 teaspoons cornstarch along with 2 tablespoons water.
Now add the prepared cornstarch slurry to the pan (stir before adding to make sure the cornstarch hasn't settled down at the bottom). Stir and the sauce will thicken immediately.
Add the tofu and toss, be careful as the tofu is soft and might crumble so toss gently. Let it simmer 2 minutes. Then add sesame oil and turn off the heat. Add chopped green onions on top.Serve mapo tofu with more green onions with jasmine rice. If you like the flavor of Sichuan peppercorns, you can also crush some of it and sprinkle on top before serving (I did not do this).
Please read the blog text for my notes and substitutions tips before trying this recipe especially if you aren't familiar with some of the ingredients here.