Ma Po Tofu (stir-fried tofu in hot sauce) is the most well-known dish among the spicy and hot dishes of Sichuan Cuisine. It looks a dish mixed with yellowish-white tofu and reddish brown chili sauce. Ma Po Tofu is made of soft tofu, ground pork, chopped chili, prickly ash powder and broad bean paste. It is rich in protein, calcium, iron, vitamins and carbohydrates, featuring an outstanding effect in strengthening the middle burner and replenishing qi (essential energy), removing the poisonous quality of any substance, nourishing the marrow as well as replenishing the essence. People often use seven words to describe this dish which are numbing, spicy, hot, fresh, tender, delicious and crispy.
• 4 ounces ground pork
• 1 (14 ounce) package soft tofu (bean curd cake) , drained and cut into cubes
• 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
• 2 tablespoons dry sherry
• 1/2 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed
• 1/2 tablespoon chili paste
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon white sugar
• 1 tablespoon cooking wine
• 1 tablespoon starch(corn or potato starch), mixed with equal parts water
1. Heat a large skillet over high heat until hot. Add some cooking oil, swirling to coat sides. Add in the chopped ginger to be stir-fried by high heat for about 10 seconds, add in the broad bean paste and stir-fry them together until smelling fragrant, about 20 seconds.
2. Pour in the ground pork and stir-fried it for about 1 minute on high heat, add in the cooing wine and the soy sauce and stir-fry them together for a furthur 1 minute until the ground beef is 90% percent cooked.
3. Pour in the tofu cubes, add in the salt and white sugar and stir-fried them for about 2 minutes on high heat until all of the tofu cubes are covered with the seasoning sauce.
4. Add in the previously prepared wet starch flour and stir well for 20 seconds until you feel it is a little bit sticky. This process is mainly to thicken the flavored sauce to stay with the bean curd and the pork.
5. turn off the heat, add in the chopped green onion and the prickly ash powder. Stir them with cooking ladle until they are mixed with the other ingredients in the wok. Then ladle the delicious Ma Po Tofu out of the wok and put it into a fine porcelain plate.
You can control the spice by varying the cayenne. This dish is best served with steamed white rice.
Chinese name: 麻婆豆腐 (má pó dòu fu)
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