I LOVE Ma Po Tofu. Well, I should say I love any tofu. Tofu doesn’t have much taste by itself, so it absorbs whatever seasoning/sauce you add to the dish, which makes it yummy.
Mom used to feed us Tofu Fa and soy milk for breakfast when we were kids. Tofu Fa is basically silken tofu in a sweet syrup or brown sugar. It can be served hot or cold. I love having Tofu Fa for breakfast. I also remember mom brought me to the market (not grocery store) to buy tofu. I hated going to the market cos it smelled bad and the floor was always wet. Anyway, those were the days.
I can’t get good Ma Po Tofu in Chinese restaurants in the US. One time I ordered it at my usual Chinese take-out place, and it had no meat in it. What a rip-off! I never order any Ma Po Tofu in any restaurants after that except my last reunion with my high school friends. But that Ma Po Tofu was too spicy for me.
Here is my version, not that spicy.
- Tofu, 1 package. You can get it from most grocery stores. I like medium firm. You can get the firm or silken version as you like. Silken tofu may be harder to work with since it breaks easily when you stir fry it.
- Ground beef or pork, 1/3 pound. You can make it 1/2 pound if you like more meat, or cut it back.
- Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp. Lee Kum Kee is a good brand. I don’t use other ones.
- Cornstarch, 1 Tbsp.
- Chinese cooking wine (or white wine) 1/2 Tbsp.
- Black bean sauce, 1 Tbsp. I use the Lee Kum Kee Garlic and Black Bean sauce.
- Garlic, 1 clove, chopped. Skip this if you use the Lee Kum Kee Garlic and Black Bean sauce.
- Sugar, 1/2 Tbsp
- Soy Sauce 1/2 Tbsp
- Hot chili sauce or Chinese hot bean sauce, 1/2 teaspoon (optional, you can cut back the amount if you don’t like it spicy).
- Water, 3 Tbsp
- Scallion, 1 stem, chopped (optional, only for garnish)
- Cut tofu into big cubes. Put it aside.
- In a bowl, combine water, corn starch, oyster sauce, black bean sauce, and sugar. Mix well, put it aside.
- In a pan, add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil. Use high heat. Add beef. Stir it and make sure it doesn’t have big clumps. Cook it for 5 mins or so. Then add cooking wine and soy sauce. Stir well, cook for another min.
- Add tofu to the pan. Mix a little bit. Be gentle, not to break the tofu too much.
- Add the sauce. Mix well. Lower the heat to medium. Add the hot chili sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes or so until the sauce thickens.
- Add scallion as garnish.
Remember to eat it while it’s hot!!