Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pock-marked Ma's bean curd (Mapo tofu)

I was going to make some sort of sesame tofu for dinner, with some sort of spicy green beans. When I told my mom that, she suggested I try this dish instead, called pock-marked Ma's bean curd, or more commonly on Chinese menus in America, mapo tofu. This recipe comes from our family favorite Szechwan cookbook, Mrs Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook. Go buy it! It's less than a dollar on Amazon, used! Seriously. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so I changed my dinner plans a little bit. Goodness am I glad I did! Alex and I devoured it. We went back for seconds, then thirds. We were hungry, but this was just such a fantastic dish. The tofu is creamy, the sauce is spicy, the pork is smooth and meaty, and the green beans that I snuck in added a fabulous crunch. This may seem like a complicated dish, but as long as you have everything assembled when it's time to cook, it's easy. Like most food cooked in a wok, this only takes about ten minutes to cook.

Pock-marked Ma's bean curd

1/2 lb ground pork
3 scallions, chopped
2" ginger, super finely minced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T plus 1/4 c soy sauce
2 t sesame oil
1 T Chinese cooking wine
2 t plus 1 T cornstarch
2/4 c water
1 block of tofu (I used a box of Mori-nu firm silken tofu, about 12 oz)
1 1/2 t chili oil
1/2 t chili flakes
1 t chili-garlic sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1 T sugar
2 c chopped green beans
2 T peanut or canola oil

Combine ground pork, half of the ginger, half of the garlic, all the scallions, 2 T soy sauce, 1 t sesame oil, and cooking wine in a small bowl. Set aside. Smoosh together the remaining garlic and ginger and put in a small bowl, set aside. Whisk 2 t cornstarch into 1/4 c water in a little cup and set aside. Add the rest of the soy sauce to the rest of the water and set aside. Cut the tofu into small cubes, mine were about a centimeter on each side. Mix together the chili oil, chili flakes, and chili-garlic sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cornstarch (1 T) into the pork mixture. You'll have a lot of little dishes to wash, but trust me.

Ready to cook? Let's go.

Heat the oil in a wok until it shimmers. Add the ginger-garlic mixture and cook until fragrant, stirring the whole time, about 30 seconds. Add the chili mixture and the green beans, and cook, stirring, another 30 seconds. Add the meat mixture and cook until the meat is browned a little, and cooked all the way, about 2 minutes. Add the tofu, cook for a minute, then add the sugar and cook another minute. Stir in the soy sauce-water mixture, bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. If your sauce isn't thick enough for you, stir in the cornstarch-water mixture a little at a time, until the sauce is thickened enough for you. Stir in the sesame oil, cook a minute, and you're done!

Serve over rice. Serves 2 starving people or 4 regular people.


  1. Your little dishes are so cute and colorful!

    Nice dish!

  2. This is a dish I make very often. So easy and tasty!