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Ma–Po Tofu (Spicy Bean Curd with Beef)

['1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns', '1 1/2 pounds soft (not silken) tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes', '2 tablespoons Chinese hot bean paste (also called chili bean sauce)*', '1 tablespoon Chinese black-bean paste or sauce*', '4 tablespoons oyster sauce', '2 tablespoons Asian chili powder*', '1 tablespoon cornstarch', '1/4 cup peanut oil', '4 ounces ground beef', '1 (1/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 teaspoon)', '2 cloves garlic, minced', '1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced on diagonal', '1/4 cup Shaohsing rice wine', '1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), washed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 1/2 cup)', '1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth', '1 tablespoon light soy sauce', '1 tablespoon dark soy sauce', '2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)', '*Available at Asian markets and in the Asian section of some supermarkets']

In dry heavy skillet over moderate heat, toast peppercorns, stirring, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool, then grind in spice grinder to fine powder. Set aside.
In large pot over moderately high heat, bring 4 cups water to boil. Add tofu, remove from heat, and let steep, uncovered, 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer tofu to medium bowl and set aside.
In small bowl, whisk together hot bean paste, black-bean paste, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, and chili powder. Set aside.
In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water. Set aside.
In wok or heavy large sauté pan over moderate heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add beef, ginger, garlic, and scallions and stir-fry until meat is browned, about 1 minute. Add rice wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of moisture evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Add hot bean paste mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is incorporated and oil in pan turns red, about 1 minute.
Add tofu, leeks, stock, light and dark soy sauces, and remaining 2 tablespoons oyster sauce and bring to boil. Whisk cornstarch mixture to recombine, then add to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until juices thicken slightly, about 1 minute.
Transfer to serving dish. Sprinkle with Sichuan peppercorn powder and cilantro, if using. Serve immediately.

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