Mah Poh Tofu

Vanessa and Ming, once again, demonstrated in the South Arm Community Kitchen. Vanessa made Mah Poh Tofu while Ming made some hand made noodle from scratch to be eaten with the Mah Poh Tofu.

For dessert, Vanessa made some Hong Kong style Tang Yuan, something sweet for the coming Valentine’s day which is way past by now due to our posting delays.


Mah Poh Tofu or Mapo Toufu is a szechuan cuisine which is famous for spiciness. It’s main ingredients are pork and tofu which are cooked in a spicy sauce made from szechuan pepper corns. The szechuan pepper corn is a so spicy that it will numb your mouth, hence the word “ma” in Mah Poh is taken from. There is also a legend that the name came from the lady who made famous this dish. She is an old woman with pock-marked face. You can read more about the legend from wikipedia.


  • 1 package traditional tofu (or any soft or medium tofu), drained and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Oyster sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
  • Corn starch
  • Chili Bean Sauce


Click on the link below for the instructions.


IMG_3861Marinate the ground pork with oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar and corn starch for at least 20 minutes. Mix well and set aside.
IMG_3873In a large wok, fry the sliced shallots until fragrant and lightly brown. Add the marinated ground pork and stir fry to break up the pork. Cover and let it cook for a few minutes.
IMG_3877Add enough water to cover the pork, cover and let simmer for a few more minutes until the sauce has reduced.
IMG_3889Add the tofu into the pork and mix gently. Add more water if its too dry.
IMG_3891Add 2 to 3 heaping tablespoonful of chili bean sauce to flavour the sauce. Add more if you like it more spicy but check the saltiness of the dish. Adjust taste with sugar if necessary. Let simmer for another 2 minutes.
IMG_3895Add in the chopped green onions just before serving. Drizzle with some sesame oil if desired for the extra fragrant.
IMG_3908Vanessa served the Mah Poh Tofu with some hand made noodle. I’ll share about the hand made noodle tomorrow.

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  1. Mike

    Suanne and Ben:
    This is crazy. I had never heard of Mah Poh tofu before today. After reading your article ( which I have been doing faithfully for the last couple of years ) and looking at the Wikepedia and other references, I went downstairs and turned on the TV. Would you believe, there was a show on Shaw called Chow Times ( Herb and Brian Chow ) and they cooked Mah Poh Tofu. They also made Beef and Tomatoe Fried Rice ( my Mom’s all time favorite ) and visited with the chef from Manchu Wok ( I think that they said it is the largest Chinese chain in the world ). Don’t worry though. You guys will always be my favorite. My wife and I live in Abbotsford and I am obsessed with Asian food in the valley. We would never be able to sort it out without your help. Keep up the good work.
    Just so you know Ben, i ran three marathons back in the mid 90s ( Portland twice and vancouver once ) so I will be watching your progress closely.

  2. kimee

    I have been craving for this one since december… =)

  3. Ben

    Hi Kimee: December? Why December? 🙂

    Hi Mike: That’s spooky. What TV show was that? Anyway, I am beginning to see the enormity of the goal running a marathon now. Three marathons, huh? I am impressed.


  4. LotusRapper

    I make this dish fairly regularly (2-3 times a month) but without the chili, as our toddler can’t handle it (yet). This recipe looks great, btw.

    I keep a solution of corn starch handy for the last stage, as sometimes the tofu can release too much water for my liking. I generally let the cubed tofu sit for 10-15 mins before using it so the excess water drains out and the tofu is more firm thus avoiding its breakup in the cooking.

    Scallions/green onions ….. must have lots of it to make this dish really shine. I even add chopped coriander in mine. Mmmmm.

  5. kimee

    hi Ben: december because it’s on the cold months i crave for something hot and spicy, so thanks for the recipe =)

    hi LotusRapper: thanks for the handy tip

  6. cissy

    wow, Lotusrapper:P,surprised that you are also the cook at your home, so is my hubby:P
    I made this dish also w/o the chili, however occasionally i’ll add a teaspoon of chili to spice up the dish.

    Suanne,thanks for sharing this dish, never eaten w/ noodles though:P

  7. Lee Ping

    Loved the way you write the recipe, photo with instruction. My daughter who is a picky eater loves Ma Poh To Fu. She likes it with plain white rice. After reading your article, I will try serving this dish with noodles. I think she will like it as well. Who doesn’t like fresh pasta, right?

    My pasta machine is starting to collect dust in my pantry. So, I look forward to your article on handmade noodles.

  8. LotusRapper

    Cissy, yeah I’m the household cook. And the grocery shopping.

    Sometimes I like to add some pickled spicy “loh bak” (daikon) that you buy in small tinfoil packets at T&T just to add a bit of texture to the dish. Or other times just before serving I’d sprinkle some chopped peanuts on top.

  9. Spongebob

    Just what I needed! My parents bought so much tofu for some reason, and I needed to make something. I usually cook leftover foods in my fridge since we have a big family of 6.

    Love your site!


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