January 4, 2015

MA-PO Tofu

Recipe: Eric Vellend

A fiery stew of silken tofu, ground pork and heaps of green onion, ma-po tofu is one of the most popular dishes in the Sichuan canon. The secret ingredient is chili bean sauce, a spicy, umami-rich condiment available at Chinese supermarkets.


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 oz. ground pork
  • 3 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans (optional)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lb. silken tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 green onions, sliced on a bias (whites and greens separated)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp cold water, whisked together
  • 1/4 tsp ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns Salt to taste
  • Steamed jasmine rice (for serving)


Yield: Serves 4

  1. In a wok or large frying pan, heat oil over high heat. Add pork. Stir-fry until no longer pink, 2 minutes. Turn heat down to medium. Add chili bean sauce and black beans, if using. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add stock, rice wine, soy sauce and sugar. Raise heat to high. When mixture begins to simmer, carefully stir in tofu. Reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add whites of green onion. Simmer 1 minute. Add cornstarch and water mixture. Simmer until sauce thickens, 1 minute.
  2. Transfer to a warm serving bowl. Sprinkle with peppercorns and green onion greens; season with salt. Serve with jasmine rice.

Michael Graydon


House & Home January 2013

Tags: Stew