Ma Po Tofu, Gravity's Guide

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One of the most well known dishes out of Sichuan province, firey hot, aromatic, and absolutely delicious. If you think you don't like tofu, you've never had this before. I mostly follow Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe with a few changes that I will mark.


  • 1 block bean curd (She doesn't say what kind, I prefer silken for this application), cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • equal amount of ginger, minced (she doesn't have either garlic or ginger, I think they are sorely missing from the recipe)
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
  • 1/3 lb of beef (she says beef, I prefer pork)
  • 2.5 tbsp Sichuan chili bean paste
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans, lightly crushed
  • 1 cup stock of your choice, chicken is fine
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp light soy
  • 1/2 tsp roasted Sichuan peppercorns, ground
  • dash white pepper
  • cornstarch slurry
  • toasted sesame oil or chili oil (optional, she doesn't use it, I think it rounds out the dish a bit)
  • 1 tbsp minced Sichuan pickled vegetables (optional, she doesn't use it, I think it brightens the dish considerably)
  • ground dried hot peppers, to taste, I like about 2 or 3 ground chile japones (this is quite spicy)


In a hot wok, add a bit of neutral oil, swirl. Heat till just barely smoking, add ground meat, stir fry breaking the mince into small clumps. Add garlic, ginger, sichuan peppercorn, ground chile, white pepper, and black beans stir and allow to get fragrant. Add bean paste, tofu, soy sauce, and stock. Bring to a boil, and add enough cornstarch slurry to make the sauce glaze the tofu. Serve garnished with scallions.