Ma Po Tofu

Neil Perry
Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po Tofu 

This is a Sichuan classic: grandmother's tofu. For a treat I have a bowl of this with rice for lunch. Another interesting way to make this is to steam the tofu in larger squares and sauce it with the stir-fried pork - it changes the texture of the dish and accentuates the silkiness of the tofu. This is also made with beef; just substitute it for the pork and away you go.


300g silken tofu, cut into 2cm cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

200g minced pork belly

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 spring onions, sliced

2 tablespoons hot bean paste

125ml fresh chicken stock

1 teaspoon shaoxing rice wine

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

A good pinch of Sichuan pepper

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


Heat a wok until smoking. Add the vegetable oil and, when hot, add the minced pork and stir-fry until browned. Then add the garlic, spring onions and bean paste and stir-fry until fragrant. Add the stock, shaoxing, soy sauces, sugar and salt. Bring to the boil, add the tofu and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, allowing the liquid to thicken slightly. Add the Sichuan pepper and sesame oil and gently mix together.