Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po dou fu
麻婆豆腐 má pó dòu fu
Pork-marked Mother Chen’s Tofu
Ma po dou fu is named after the smallpox-scarred wife of a Qing Dynasty restaurateur. She is said to have prepared spicy, aromatic oily dish for laborers who laid down their loads of cooking oil to eat lunch on their way to the city’s markets. It’s one of the most famous Sichuan dishes and epitomizes Sichuan’s culinary culture, with its fiery peasant cooking and bustling private restaurants . The Sichuan pepper will make your lips tingle pleasantly, and the tender tofu will slip down your throat. It’s rich and warming, a perfect winter dish.
- 1 block to fu (about 1 pound )
- 4 baby leeks or 2 leeks
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 6 ounces ground beef
- 2 1/2 tablespoons Sichuanese chili bean paste
- 1 tablespoon fermented yellow beans
- 2 teaspoons ground Sichuan chili(only for chili friends)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- Salt to taste
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons cold water
- Cut the tofu into 1- inch cubes and leave to steep in very hot or gently simmering water that you have lightly salted. Slice the leeks at a steep angle into thin “horse ear” slices 1 1/2 inches long.
- Season the wok then add the peanut oil and heat over a high flame until smoking. Add the minced beef and stir-fry until it is crispy and a little brown, but not yet dry.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add the chilli bean paste and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until the oil is a rich red colour. Add the fermented yellow beans and ground chilli and stir-fry for another 20-30 seconds until they are both fragrant and the chilli have added their colour to the oil.
- Pour in the stock,stir well, and add the drained tofu. Mix it in gently by pushing the back of your ladle gently from the edges to the center of the wok-do not stir or the tofu may break up. Season with the sugar, a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce, and salt to taste. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the bean curd has absorbed the flavour of the sauce.
- Add the leeks or scallions and gently stir in. when they are just cooked, add the cornstarch mixture in two or three stages, mixing well, until the sauce has thickened enough to cling glossily to the meat and tofu. Don’t add more than you need. Finally pour everything into a deep bowl and service.
Contributor : Lisa Ma