Ma Po Tofu

Ma Po Tofu

By Food E Fare

Ma Po Tofu is a classic Sichuan dish known for its bold and spicy flavors. It typically features tofu cubes cooked in a flavorful and spicy sauce with ground meat, usually pork. Here's a basic recipe for making Ma Po Tofu:


For Tofu:

  • 1 block (about 14 ounces) firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Water, for boiling tofu

For Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional, for numbing heat)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For Garnish:

  • Green onions, chopped
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)


Prepare Tofu:

  • In a pot of boiling water, add soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and cornstarch. Boil tofu cubes for about 3-4 minutes. This helps firm up the tofu and infuse some flavor. Drain and set aside.

Make Sauce:

  • In a wok or large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add minced fermented black beans, chili bean paste, ginger, and garlic. Stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Cook Ground Pork:

  • Add ground pork to the wok and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spatula.

Add Broth and Seasoning:

  • Pour in chicken or vegetable broth, soy sauce, sugar, and ground Sichuan peppercorns (if using). Stir to combine.

Add Tofu:

  • Gently add the boiled tofu cubes to the wok. Be careful not to break them. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes to allow the tofu to absorb the flavors.


  • Drizzle sesame oil over the Ma Po Tofu and give it a final stir.


  • Serve Ma Po Tofu hot over rice, garnished with chopped green onions and cilantro if desired.

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