This typical Hunan recipe does two things very nicely:
First, it turns a firm tofu a bit crispier and therefore into something with a nicer mouth feel.
Then, it combines that with chile pepper and garlic, making for a much tastier dish again.
And in the end combination of salty and a little fatty (from the cooking oil) and spicy, it is a dish that really speaks to the senses and combines perfectly with the usual rice.
No one say tofu were boring.
Cooking with ChiliCult: JiaChang Doufu, Often-, Home-Cooked Tofu
A great recipe to learn to appreciate the taste of a firm tofu, done the Hunan way
Cut tofu into slices (around 1/4 inch thick, halved once).
Wash and chop the chile pepper (rather finely); peel the garlic and crush it; cut the ginger in thin slices.
Heat some oil in a pan.
Fry the tofu in the hot oil, piece by piece as it fits well into the pan. First let one side fry until browned well, then move and turn, let the other side brown.
Put tofu that is done frying out onto a plate, continue with fresh pieces until all done.
Fry the chilli in hot oil for a bit (until it is slightly discolored, if that). Add garlic and ginger, stir-fry a bit longer (at most, until the garlic starts to brown very slightly; just don't burn the chilli)…
Add the water, add salt and a dash of soy sauce, get to a boil again.
Turn off heat.
Add tofu, turn everything to mix (but not break the pieces of tofu).
Pour out into a soup bowl, garnish with the chives.