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Ma-Po Tofu

Low Fat Recipe

The following Ma-Po Tofu recipe is more of a simmered dish than a stir-fry. At the last minute of cooking, you add the tofu to the dish when there is just enough liquid to keep the dish moist and the tofu from sticking.

Fresh Tofu for Ma-Po Tofu


1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 to 1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup chopped green onions (green tops only)
1/2 cup stock or water
1 pound tofu soft or silken tofu cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt to taste
Minced cilantro (optional)

Recipe Directions

Put oil in a deep 10-inch skillet or wok, preferably non-stick. Set heat at medium-high. A minute later, add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook just until they begin to sizzle, less than one minute. Add pork. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it loses most of its pink.

Add green onions and stir. Add stock. Cook a minute or so, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen any stuck bits of meat, then add tofu. Cook, stirring once or twice until tofu is heated through, about two minutes. Stir in the soy sauce; taste, and add salt and red pepper flakes as desired. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

About Mapo Tofu

Making a stir-fried tofu dish is difficult. Tofu is very delicate and can be difficult to saute. You would have to use about a half-cup of oil in your skillet or wok to keep the tofu from sticking and falling apart.

Many stir-fried tofu dishes are little more than the tofu mixed with a bit of meat and some seasonings. This particular one is fast, easy and it does not matter what type of skillet or what kind of tofu is used.

Quickly stir-fry the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in oil, add a little meat, green onions, liquid, tofu and finally, soy sauce. The liquid can be rich-flavored stock, but even if it is water, the results will be delicious.

This dish cooks in about ten minutes with preparation time being about the same. The total time needed to make this dish is so short that if you are planning to serve the dish with rice, you will need to cook the rice first thing when you begin cooking. Some enjoy this dish very hot as in spicy hot and others do not. Season to suit your tastes.

Nutrition Information

Recipe makes 4 servings.

Ma Po Tofu II

This is a great Chinese recipe. You can control the spice by varying the cayenne.

4 ounces lean ground pork
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and mashed
1/2 tablespoon chili paste with garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 (14-ounce) package tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with equal parts water

In a small bowl, combine ground pork, sherry and 1 teaspoon cornstarch; set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine black beans, chili paste, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger; set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. If pork is lean, add 1-tablespoon oil. Cook pork until evenly browned. Stir in black bean mixture, tofu, and peas. Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in dissolved cornstarch, and cook until thick. Recipe makes four servings.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with steamed white rice.

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