Home-Style Spicy Beancurd

This recipe is my adaptation of ‘Ma Po’s home-cooked beancurd’, a popular and traditional Sichuan dish I first experienced in a Sichuan-style restaurant in Hong Kong. The Sichuan style emphasizes hot spices and strong seasonings, with which beancurd readily combines. I have made this into a vegetarian dish by omitting the minced beef or pork that is normally used. Beancurd is such a good protein and the sauce and garnish are so full of flavour that the meat is not missed, either nutritionally or as a taste. Note that here I use soft beancurd, so that the result is a spicy and savoury custard-like dish, perfect with rice, crispy noodles or bread.


  • 450 g (1 lb) soft beancurd, drained
  • 1 tablespoon oil, preferably groundnut
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chilli bean sauce
  • 1 teaspoon yellow bean sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 1 teaspoon water


Cut the beancurd into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes and set aside. Heat a wok or large frying-pan over high heat and add the oil. Put in the ginger, garlic, chilli bean sauce and yellow bean sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, stock and rice wine and cook for 2 minutes. Stir the blended cornflour into the sauce. When it has slightly thickened, add the beancurd cubes and stir gently. Continue to cook for 2 minutes or until the beancurd is heated through. Garnish and serve at once.


  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions