Ma Po Tofu

15 minutes
to prep

15 minutes
to cook

2 servings

About this Recipe

These soft, silken tofu cubes in a spicy, savory sauce are delicious. Szechuan pepper is known for its spicy, tingly, numbing effect and can be found in Asian grocery stores, but you can also substitute one or two dried hot chili peppers or leave out the pepper completely if you don’t want it to be spicy at all. Feel free to add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, seaweed, or any vegetables you like!

Recipe Courtesy of Doris Lin
Photo Courtesy of Lee Gitter


  • 1 teaspoon finely minced and peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, ground in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle (use more or less, depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 pound soft silken tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced


  1. In a medium pot, heat the oil and fry the garlic and ginger over low heat for about 1 minute. You just want it to soften. It should not brown. 
  2. Add the ground Szechuan peppercorn and fry for another minute over low heat. 
  3. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, broth, and cornstarch and stir to dissolve the corn starch. 
  4. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot and turn the heat up to medium, stirring constantly, as the sauce thickens. 
  5. After the sauce thickens, add the tofu and gently stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring gently every few minutes.  
  6. Sprinkle the sliced scallion on top and serve with steamed rice!