Start by cubing the tofu into cubes roughly 2cm (0.8") thick.Note: If you're using a softer tofu, be very gentle to avoid any unnecessary breaking.
Bring a wok of water to a boil with the 1 tsp salt and slide the bean curd cubes in. Cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the excess liquid.
Drain the tofu in a colander as you work on the other ingredients.
Hammer at the meat with a cleaver until it resembles mince.
Finely chop the pickled ginger, pickled chili and spring onions.
Heat up a wok on medium heat and add 2 tbsp oil. Turn the heat to low, then pour the peppercorns and dried chili in for 10 seconds. Scoop the aromatics out and put them on a chopping board.
Use a cleaver to crush the aromatics.
Finely chop the green peppercorn and dried chili mix, then set aside for later.
Pour oil into the wok and turn the heat to high. Add the mince in to cook for 2 minutes.
Add the chili bean paste, pickled ginger and pickled chili and stir fry for 1 minute, then add 1 tsp of the peppercorn and chili mix and stir until combined.Note: The amount of peppercorn and chili mix you add will affect how spicy this Mapo Tofu will get. Make sure to taste as you go and add to preference.
Pour the water into the wok and add the sugar, 1 tsp salt and dark soy sauce. Mix until well combined, then slide the tofu in.
Scoop the bean curd carefully so it is mostly covered by the sauce, then let it simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Mix the corn starch slurry until combined, then add 1/3 of it and stir through. Repeat until it is all finished.
Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve hot as is!