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How to Cook Ma Po Tofu

Get a delicious, spicy Chinese meal without calling for take out. This dish, which features tofu and pork, takes only a few minutes to prepare.


  • Step 1: Combine broth, bean paste, soy sauce, and salt Combine the chicken broth, bean paste, soy sauce, and a dash of salt to taste in a small mixing bowl to make a sauce. Set aside.
  • Step 2: Poach tofu in a saucepan Heat a medium saucepan filled with water until it reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and slide the tofu into the saucepan. Keep the water at a low simmer while continuing to make the rest of the dish.
  • TIP: Don't let the water reach a full, rolling boil. Boiling the tofu will give it a rubbery feel.
  • Step 3: Heat oil in wok Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons corn, peanut, or canola oil to the wok, and swirl it around to coat the skillet.
  • Step 4: Add pork and cook Add the ground pork to the heated wok and cook until no longer pink. Break up clumps of meat as you're cooking. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the meat if it begins to stick to the wok.
  • Step 5: Add garlic and ginger; stir in sauce Add the garlic and ginger to the wok, and continue cooking for an additional two minutes. Stir in your reserved sauce, and return the mixture to a simmer.
  • TIP: Sprinkle garlic cloves with a dash of salt while mincing to keep them from sticking to your knife.
  • Step 6: Drain tofu and add to wok Drain the poached tofu using a sieve, and add it to the wok. Stir gently to combine.
  • Step 7: Dissolve cornstarch and add to wok Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water, add to the wok and bring to a boil. Stir gently. Cook until the mixture has thickened and become glossy -- about 15 seconds.
  • Step 8: Remove wok from heat Remove the wok or skillet from the heat, and sprinkle with sesame oil, Sichuan-peppercorn powder, and two tablespoons of scallions. Stir until the ingredients are combined. Sprinkle with the remaining scallions, and serve. Present with a bowl of steamed rice for a tasty Chinese meal that's sure to be a crowd pleaser.
  • FACT: Soybeans, which are used to make tofu, were first planted in Colonial America in 1765 in Savannah, Georgia.

You Will Need

  • 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. hot bean paste
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. regular or soft tofu
  • drained and cut into 1/2-in. cubes
  • 2 tbsp. corn
  • peanut
  • or canola oil
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork shoulder
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. finely minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Japanese sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. toasted Sichuan-peppercorn powder
  • 3 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
  • Steamed rice
  • Wok or large heavy skillet
  • Sieve

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