Ma Poh Tofu, sometimes also known as Grandma Tofu, is originated from Sichuan province in China. The dish is a result of combining tofu and minced meat in a spicy chili bean based sauce. It is oily with bright red suspension and garnish with finely chopped spring onion. There are many variations and even a vegetarian version. It is one of my favourite Szechuan dish. It has all the elements of a great dish; spicy hot and numbing (from the chili and Szechuan peppercorn), fresh, tender and soft (from the tofu), aromatic and pungent (from the fermented black bean and peppercorn) and flaky (from the floating minced).
It is believed that a farmer and his son found shelter at an old woman’s home during a terrible storm. The old woman was a widow with a disfigured face due to acne scaring. She was so pleased with her company that she prepared a special meal from her paltry larder. The dish was so delicious that each time the farmer and son passed through the village, they would stopped for a meal. Soon words got around that visitors came to taste her meal, which is now known as Ma Poh Tofu. In Chinese, “Ma” refers to a person disfigured with pockmarks (acne scaring) and “Poh” refers to an old woman.
In my version of Ma Poh Tofu, I used a jar of Black Bean Chili Paste, Firm Tofu and Minced Pork.
Process 1: Preparation
1. Diced firm tofu into small cubes.
2. Boil a saucepan of water. Gently placed diced tofu into boiled water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and put aside.
3. Chopped 3 cloves garlic.
4. Chopped 2 spring onion (green section) finely.
5. Chopped a thumb size ginger.
Process 2: Cooking
1. Heat some cooking oil in a hot wok.
2. Toss in garlic and ginger. Stir fry until fragrant.
3. Toss in 500 gm pork minced. Stir fry until pork is half cooked. Add 2 tablespoons black bean chili paste. Continue to stir fry until pork is cooked.
4. Add 1 cup of chicken stock. Turn down the heat and gently simmer.
5. Add diced tofu and continue to simmer until sauce is reduced by half.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste, and some corn starch to thicken the sauce.
Time to plate the dish and garnish with some chopped spring onion.
Enjoy the Meal! 🙂