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Ma Po Tofu recipe (this Spicy Garlic Tofu from way back when, which is also delectable), but the truth of the matter is that that dish was a mere spin on this classic dish. This version is the true blue, authentic real deal—the spicy, tongue-numbing, rice-is-absolutely-not-optional, can’t-have-just-one-scoop version that you get in the restaurants.
The bright spicy red sauce has a healthy amount of oil (and when I say healthy, I mean not healthy at all) that coats the soft cubes of silken tofu, tasty bits of ground pork, scallion, and spicy Szechuan (or Sichuan) peppercorns. See those peppercorn bits? The key is that as you’re eating the tofu, the peppercorns impart bursts of that mouth-numbing ma la (numb and spicy) goodness that is Szechuan food. You can adjust to your own preferences, though; if you want it more powdery, it dissolves into the sauce, and you don’t get as much of that kick-in-the-tongue sensation. Normally, I would go for a finer consistency with the peppercorns, but a rolling pin and a plastic sandwich bag just didn’t get me as far as the mortar and pestle we have at home.
Ma Po Tofu Recipe – The REAL Deal
This ma po tofu is the true blue, authentic real deal—the spicy, tongue-numbing, rice-is-absolutely-not-optional ma po tofu that you get in the restaurants.

  • 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
  • 1 large scallion, finely chopped

How To Make :
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture to your sauce and stir. Let it bubble away until the sauce starts to thicken. Then add your chili oil from before—peppers and all! Stir the oil into the sauce, and then add the tofu. Use your spatula to gently toss the tofu in the sauce. Let everything cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the scallions and stir until the scallions are juuust wilted. You can also set aside a small handful to sprinkle over the top of the finished dish. Serve hot with a nice mounded bowl of white rice!
Recipe Source : MA PO TOFU RECIPE – THE REAL DEAL @ thewoksoflife

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