Ma Po Tofu Recipe – The REAL Deal

Ma Po Tofu Recipe – The REAL Deal

½ cup oil, divided
Small handful of fresh or dried red chili peppers (I used both!), thinly sliced for fresh and roughly chopped for dried
1½ tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, crushed (half chunky, half powdery) (Update: some of our readers have noted that the Sichuan peppercorns can be very strong in this dish; that's how we like it, but if you want a milder flavor, cut back to 1 tablespoon or even less, depending on your personal preference!)
3 tablespoons ginger, finely minced
3 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
½ cup or 8 oz. ground pork
1-2 tablespoons spicy bean sauce (less if you don’t like it too salty and a little more if you’re planning on demolishing this dish with a big bowl of rice)
Water or chicken broth
1 package silken tofu, cut into 1.5” cubes
1½ teaspoons Corn Starch

  • First, we make the chili oil. If you have bottled chili oil, you can skip this step. Heat your wok or a small saucepan on low. Add ¼ cup of the oil and throw in the peppers. Stir occasionally until the oil is bright red. Make sure that the peppers don’t brown! Once the oil is red (or reddish) remove from heat and set aside. You can do this in advance and let it sit on the counter. The longer it sits, the redder it’ll get.
  • Heat the remaining ¼ cup of oil in your wok over medium heat. Add your Sichuan pepper corns and stir occasionally. Let them fry very gently. You want to release the flavors without browning the peppercorns. Once the peppercorns have cooked for 2-3 minutes, add the ginger. Turn up the heat to medium high in order to lightly fry the ginger. Then add the garlic. Stir 2-3 times, then turn up the heat and add the ground pork. Break up the meat and fry it until it’s cooked through.
  • Add the spicy bean sauce to the mixture and stir it in well. Add ⅔ cups of water or chicken broth to the wok and stir. Let this simmer for a minute or so. While that's happening, ready your tofu and also put a ¼ cup of water in a small bowl with your corn starch and mix it with a fork—make sure all the clumps are broken up.

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