Asparagus and Tofu with Sichuan-Style Sauce

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The Pasta Man is a young lawyer from Washington, DC. He cooks a lot of pasta and other things, too. He blogs at

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I recently discovered that the Magic Bullet makes a great spice grinder, presenting me with endless possibilities to add a new depth of flavor to my cooking. But when it comes down to it, if I’m going to be grinding spices, I almost always want one of those spices to be Sichuan peppercorns.

This is a recipe for a spicy, sesame vinaigrette with the distinctive floral mouth-tingle of the peppercorns – in other words, it really packs a flavor punch. Adapted from Serious Eats, you could use the sauce on anything; I’m most used to eating it on noodles, but here it’s used more healthily as a dressing for asparagus and tofu. Serve over rice, and you’ve got a delicious and healthy meal.

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Asparagus and Tofu with Sichuan-Style Sauce


  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 package extra or super firm tofu, cut into cubes or matchsticks
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 6 dried red peppers
  • 2 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns (available online or at Chinese grocers)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar (available at Chinese grocers, or use a mix of rice and balsamic vinegars)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil


  1. Microwave chilies and Sichuan peppercorns for fifteen seconds, then blend in the Magic Bullet.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in skillet on medium heat until shimmer. Add vegetable oil to chili and peppercorns. Let cool for five minutes, then add sesame oil.
  3. Blend garlic in Magic Bullet. Add sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic and blend. Add chili oil mixture and blend.
  4. Boil asparagus until tender, then mix all ingredients together and serve over rice.