Ma Po Tofu

Quick Overview

Ma po tofu is one of the most famous dishes in Chuan Cuisine with a history of more than 100 years. Ma (麻) describes a spicy and hot taste which comes from pepper powder, one kind of condiment usually used in Chuan Cuisine. The milky tofu is enriched with brownish red ground beef and chopped green onion. It is really a tasty delicacy. Read the DIY recipes of ma po tofu.

Ingredients and Seasonings

Main ingredients: 500g fresh tofu, 150g minced (scalped) beef, 50g green onions

Seasonings: 120g cooking oil, 5.5g salt, 20 ml Mapo tofu sauce (soy sauce), chili powder (to taste), 20g Pixian bean paste, 250g double-boiled soup (made from bone with ginger and pepper), 40g starch and water (the starchy sauce), (2g chicken powder)


1. Dice the tofu into 2 cm (½–1") cubes, and put them into a bowl of hot water to remove astringency.

2. Clean and cut the green onions into small pieces

3. Make the starchy sauce by mixing the starch and water. 


1. Heat up a wok with the prepared vegetable oil to around 80 °C. 

2. Fry the chopped beef in the wok till it becomes light brown, and then add the salt, Mapo tofu sauce, chili powder and Pixian bean paste. Keep frying.

3. Add the double-boiled soup and diced tofu, and use a moderate heat to cook till tasty. 

4. Add the garlic sprouts and soy sauce, cook for a few seconds and thicken with the starchy sauce. (Add chicken powder if you like.)

5. Serve in a shallow bowl, topped with chili powder and chopped spring green onions.

There is a four-word Chinese saying for cooking Mapo tofu: 'numbing, spicy, hot, and integrated'.