Ma Po Tofu


Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

This is a Sichuan classic: grandmother’s tofu. For a treat I have a bowl of this with rice for lunch. Another interesting way to make this is to steam the tofu in larger squares and sauce it with the stir-fried pork — it changes the texture of the dish and accentuates the silkiness of the tofu. This is also made with beef; just substitute it for the pork and away you go.


  • 300 g (10½ oz) silken tofu, cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 200 g (7 oz) minced (ground) pork belly
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons hot bean paste
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) fresh chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon shaoxing
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • a good pinch of Sichuan pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil


    Heat a wok until smoking. Add the vegetable oil and, when hot, add the minced pork and stir-fry until browned. Then add the garlic, spring onions and bean paste and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the stock, shaoxing, soy sauces, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, add the tofu and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, allowing the liquid to thicken slightly. Add the Sichuan pepper and sesame oil and gently mix together.