The Legendary Ma-Po Tofu

The Legendary Ma-Po Tofu

recipe image

The Legendary Ma Po Tofu
Author Notes

This is my husband’s favorite dish that his mom makes. My mother-in-law says that legend has it this recipe came from a pox-faced old lady who became famous for making this great spicy tofu dish in Szechuan. It is said to stimulate the appetite. It sure stimulates ours! —monkeymom

  • Serves

  • 1 pound

    ground pork

  • 1 tablespoon

    wine (for marinating meat)

  • 3 tablespoons

    soy sauce (for marinating meat)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    sugar (for marinating meat)

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    black pepper (for marinating meat)

  • 1 teaspoon

    sesame oil (for marinating meat)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons

    cornstarch (for marinating meat)

  • 3 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

  • 2

    boxes of tofu (regular or silken)

  • 3

    garlic cloves

  • 4

    green onions (chopped – separate white and green parts)

  • 6 tablespoons

    soy sauce (for sauce)

  • 1 tablespoon

    cornstarch (for sauce)

  • 1 tablespoon

    hot sauce (for sauce – Chinese black bean chili sauce in a jar is preferred, regular chili sauce is okay. This can be omitted or can be increased)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    sesame oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    black pepper
  1. Marinate pork with wine, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, sesame oil, and cornstarch.
  2. Heat oil in large frying pan. Sauté garlic and white part of green onion in oil for less than 1 minute.
  3. Stir fry the marinated ground pork for 5-6 minutes. You may cover 1-2 times to steam the pork. Do not add any water. Open the cover to stir-fry the pork continuously until done.
  4. Add diced tofu, stir gently, and cover for 3 minutes with medium temperature to simply “warm up” the tofu. Open the cover, mix and stir gently, tofu will be little mashed, which is okay.
  5. Mix soy sauce, cornstarch, hot sauce and pour over the tofu/meat in the pot. Stir gently and quickly with high heat until the sauce is thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning – add more soy, salt, pepper, or hot sauce as needed.
  6. Remove to a large bowl. Sprinkle with ½ ts sesame oil, ½ tsp black pepper and the green part of the chopped onion.
  7. Serve hot with white rice. Enjoy!
  8. Note: The picture shown is made with silken tofu. It can fall apart pretty easily. You can easily substitute regular or firm tofu too.

My favorite distraction is to cook. Though science and cooking/baking have a lot in common, I’m finding that each allows me to enjoy very different parts of my life. Cooking connects me with my heritage, my family, friends, and community. I’m really enjoying learning from the food52 community, who expose me to different ingredients and new ways to cook.

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