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ma pa tofu

Ma Po Tofu – a Warrior’s Meal

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  • Author: Abbe
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop


Ma Po Tofu is pure Chinese comfort food. Flavored with a bit of ground pork and garlic, and a bit of Szechuan peppercorns, the soft tofu contrasts well with the heat. I love it when it is made right!


  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 2 T Chinese Black Bean sauce with chilies
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 pound soft tofu, drained and cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 T cornstarch mixed with 2 T of water
  • 2 t Szechuan peppercorns
  • 23 T peanut oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped fine, green and white parts separated
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 knob fresh ginger or 12 T
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
  • White Rice for serving


  1. Pour chicken stock into a large measuring cup. Add the black bean sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.
    Mix the cornstarch in a small bowl and stir in 2 T of water to make a slurry.
    Toast the peppercorns in a hot, dry wok for a minute or so or until they are fragrant. Allow to cool and grind to a powder. I usually put them on a paper plate-top them with some wax paper and bang them with a meat cleaver. They will be more coarse, but that is good enough for me. Wipe out wok.
  2. Before cooking make sure all ingredients are prepped and placed by the stove. Chinese cooking is quick!
  3. Heat your wok or large skillet with 2-3 T of peanut oil until it is not quite smoking. Toss in the garlic, the white part of the scallions and the ginger, tossing quickly until fragrant. Add the pork and cook quickly until the pork is gray and not pink. Add the chicken stock mixture and the tofu. Cook for a few minutes until the tofu begins to fall apart. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and allow the sauce to thicken. Add a splash of sesame oil and the green chopped scallions. Toss together and sprinkle on the peppercorns. Serve with white rice.