ma po dou fu

English translation: pockmarked grandma bean curd

October 22, 2021

Serves 2

  1. Heat equal parts plain vegetable oil and huajiao-flavored oil.Note 1 Add 6 cloves minced garlic and equal amount of ginger paste.Note 2

  2. Let garlic and ginger cook a minute before adding a couple handfuls of ground pork.Note 3

  3. When pork is browned, add 2 Tbsp spicy bean pasteNote 4 and mix well. Then add 1" cubes of soft or silken tofu, 2 tsp sugar, and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Mix gently so the tofu doesn't break. Add salt to taste and simmer 1-2 minutes.

  4. In a bowl, mix 1 Tbsp corn starch with 1 Tbsp water. Stir until the starch is dissolved, and then add the slurry to the wok.Note 5 Stir until thickened.

  5. Garnish with spring onion and serve with rice.


  1. Other recipes call for ground huajiao (sichuan peppercorns) in the dish, but I find it too gritty. You can buy huajiao oil at the store, or make it by frying huajiao in oil to infuse it with the flavor.
  2. Grated on a microplane or smashed in a mortar and pestle. If you mince ginger, the pieces will be too big.
  3. Try to find coarsely ground pork. When raw it should look like red chunks, not a pink paste. The Chinese groceries near me have better ground pork than the supermarkets.
  4. I prefer broad bean paste, without black beans.
  5. If you add dry starch directly, it will form sticky lumps.

Copyright © 2021 Sal Elder