Ma Po Tofu with Pork
with rice / Szechuan green beans
This spicy, saucy Chinese tofu can be made at home in about as long as it would take to order it from your local take-out spot. We previously featured a vegetarian version of this dish that got great reviews, but we've used community members' feedback to bring you a new and improved version that gets added savory flavor from a bit of ground pork.
Smarts: In China, Szechuan peppercorns are traditionally toasted in the first step of this recipe, but they were difficult for many people to find, so we've used chili-garlic sauce to spice this version.
- Rice, white or brown - 1 cup
- Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
- Ginger - 2 tsp , grated
- Ketchup - 4 Tbsp
- Soy sauce, low-sodium - 2 Tbsp
- Chinese black bean sauce - 2 Tbsp (in the international aisle as regular, black bean garlic, or a spicy version called doubanjiang)
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Chili-garlic sauce - 2 tsp (sub any hot sauce)
- Green onions - 2 stalks , chopped, green and white parts separate
- Tofu, soft - 16 oz , 1" / 2.5cm cubes (sub firm tofu)
- Cornstarch - 2 Tbsp
- Stock, any type - 1 1/2 cups
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Pork, ground - 8 oz
- Lime juice - 2 tsp
- Green beans - 1 lb , trimmed
- Oil, sesame - 2 Tbsp
- Ma Po Sauce (ingredients listed separately) - 1 Tbsp
Garlic / Ginger / Green beans - Prep as directed and store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make Ma Po sauce- Combine garlic, ginger, ketchup, soy sauce, black bean sauce, sugar and chili-garlic sauce. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Rice - (Skip if rice was made on Tuesday.) For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Green onions - Prep as directed. Store green and white parts separately. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
Tofu - Drain liquid off tofu and slice into 1" / 2.5cm cubes.
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Heat a wok over medium-high heat for green beans. Add sesame oil then green beans to heated oil. Saute for 10 to 12 minutes, until browned and blistered.
While green beans cook, whisk cornstarch into stock.
Stir 1 Tbsp (15mL) of Ma Po sauce (for 4 servings; adjust if customizing) into green beans and remove from heat. Season to taste with additional salt. Set aside, covered to keep warm.
Return wok to medium-high heat and add cooking oil. Add white parts of green onions and saute until fragrant, ~2 minutes. Add ground pork and saute, breaking it into small pieces, until it begins to brown. Drain any excess liquid or oil from wok and return to heat.
Pour remaining sauce and stock / cornstarch mixture over pork and bring to a simmer. Add tofu and reduce heat to medium. Simmer gently to let the flavors come together, 2 to 3 minutes more. Taste tofu and add additional chili-garlic sauce if you'd like it to be more spicy.
If rice was made ahead, warm in the microwave.
Top tofu with lime juice and green parts of green onions. Serve with rice and green beans on the side. Enjoy!