Ma Po Tofu is a popular Sichuanese dish made with soft tofu and a spicy sauce consisting of chili bean paste, Sichuan peppercorns, and ground pork. It is a flavorful and satisfying dish that is easy to make at home

Ma Po Tofu is a classic Chinese dish that originated in the Sichuan province. It is known for its spicy and numbing flavor, which is achieved by using Sichuan peppercorns and chili bean paste. The dish is named after a pockmarked old lady, or "ma po," who supposedly invented the recipe.

One of the main ingredients in Ma Po Tofu is soft tofu. Tofu is a versatile ingredient that is low in calories and high in protein. Soft tofu has a delicate texture that absorbs the flavors of the sauce well, making it perfect for this dish.

The sauce for Ma Po Tofu is made with a combination of chili bean paste, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine. Chili bean paste is a fermented paste made from soybeans and chili peppers. It has a savory, slightly sweet flavor that adds depth to the dish. Soy sauce is a staple in Chinese cooking and adds a salty umami flavor to the sauce. Shaoxing wine is a type of Chinese rice wine that is often used in cooking to add flavor and depth to dishes.

To achieve the signature spicy and numbing flavor of Ma Po Tofu, Sichuan peppercorns are used. Sichuan peppercorns are not actually peppers, but rather the dried fruit of the Sichuan pepper plant. They have a unique flavor that is both spicy and numbing, and are a key ingredient in Sichuan cuisine.

Ma Po Tofu is typically served with steamed rice, which helps to balance out the spiciness of the dish. The dish is often garnished with chopped green onions, which add a fresh, bright flavor to the dish.

Overall, Ma Po Tofu is a delicious and flavorful dish that is easy to make at home. With its combination of soft tofu, spicy sauce, and aromatic spices, it is a true crowd-pleaser that is sure to satisfy.

Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing Ma Po Tofu.


1- 1 block of soft tofu (about 14 oz)

2- 4 oz of ground pork

3- 2 cloves of garlic, minced

4- 2 green onions, chopped

5- 2 tablespoons of chili bean paste

6- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce

7- 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine

8- 1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground

9- 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth

10- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

11- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil


Step 1:

Prep the Tofu Cut the tofu into small cubes (about 1/2 inch) and set aside.

Step 2:

Brown the Pork Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and cook until browned, breaking up any clumps with a spatula. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.

Step 3:

Cook the Aromatics Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the minced garlic and chopped green onions. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Step 4:

Make the Sauce Add the chili bean paste, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine to the pan and stir to combine. Add the ground Sichuan peppercorns and stir again. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil.

Step 5:

Add the Tofu and Pork Gently add the cubed tofu and browned pork to the pan and stir to coat them with the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes.

Step 6:

Thicken the Sauce Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes.

Step 7:

Serve Transfer the Ma Po Tofu to a serving bowl and garnish with additional chopped green onions if desired. Serve with steamed rice.


1- If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of chili bean paste and Sichuan peppercorns.

2- You can substitute ground chicken or beef for the pork if you prefer.

3- Sichuan peppercorns are essential to the flavor of this dish. Toast them in a dry pan over low heat until fragrant, then grind them in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving size: 1/4 of the recipe

  • Calories: 223
  • Fat: 16.6g
  • Saturated fat: 4.4g
  • Cholesterol: 27mg
  • Sodium: 765mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8.7g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Sugar: 1.8g
  • Protein: 11.4g

Ma Po Tofu is a delicious and healthy dish that is packed with flavor and protein. It is a great option for those who are looking for a meatless meal or are trying to reduce their meat intake. Enjoy!


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