Ma Po Tofu

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Ma Po Tofu

Behind the scenes of Ma Po Tofu


I see you turning your nose up at this recipe. You think you hate tofu?

Tofu really has no real flavor on its own, acting like a chameleon and stealing the flavors from the sauce or whatever other ingredients that surround it.   I think people who don’t like tofu either just plain don’t like the idea of it or don’t like the texture of it. But with this preparation, the whole tofu texture goes right out the door.


I think people who don’t like tofu either just plain don’t like the idea of it or don’t like the texture of it.


Tofu, also called bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy juice and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. Doesn’t sound super appealing, does it?  Tofu has a low-calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein, and little fat. It is high in iron and may also be high in calcium and/or magnesium.  Sounding a little bit better?

In this recipe for Ma Po Tofu, I take firm tofu and dry it between paper towels weighed down with a plate.  This takes the excess moisture out of the slices and then you can fry it and get a crisp edge.


Ma Po Tofu tofu



Whether you are gluten-free or not, Soba Noodles ROCK

I also use Buckwheat noodles (Soba); because its a natural grain and contains all eight essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in wheat.

Soba contains a type of polysaccharide that is easily digested. Soba noodles also contain antioxidants, and essential nutrients including choline, thiamine, and riboflavin.

And if your soba is made with 100% buckwheat, which it should be, it’s also gluten-free.


Ma Po Tofu soba


The sauce is spicy, giving that crisp tofu a nice spicy flavor and you get an extra added bonus of edamame.   Combine this with the lean ground pork tenderloin and you have a meal, on the table in less than 30 minutes, that is delicious and good for you.

I love Win-Win!


Ma Po Tofu


UPDATE: I made this the other night and of course, I had to mess with it a little.  I thought “How good would a handful of cilantro be thrown into the food processor with the meat?”.  Well, let me tell you, very good.  I really liked the addition, so if you’ve been here before cilantro, try it with! I think you’ll really like it too.

Ma Po Tofu


  • 1 (12 – ounce) container firm tofu (you can use silken if you desire, I just buy firm tofu)
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce - If keeping this gluten-free, use a gluten-free soy substitute. Soy has gluten.
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce*
  • 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce**
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil, divided
  • 8 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger root
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions (3 whole onions)
  • 1/2 cup edamame, thawed if frozen**
  • 1 pound Soba noodles, cooked according to package directions, or whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly for garnish (optional)
  • and the new updated ingredient - 1 handful of cilantro leaves about 1/3 cup


Step 1

Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch slices and place between several layers of paper towels put a dinner plate on top and let stand for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the plate, discard the paper towels and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

Step 2

In a small bowl whisk together the chicken broth, cornstarch, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and garlic chili sauce; set aside.

Step 3

In a food processor, add the pork cubes, ginger, garlic, jalapeno, and green onions (and updated cilantro leaves). Pulse until the meat is finely chopped.

Step 4

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the tofu and saute, stirring frequently, until lightly browned; remove and set aside.

Step 5

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil and the pork mixture; saute, stirring frequently to break up the pieces; saute until the pork loses its pink color. Add the edamame and tofu; saute 1 minute.

Add the sauce mixture; bring to a simmer and simmer until slightly thickened.

Step 6

Toss the hot cooked noodles with the sesame seed oil. Divide the pasta among four heated bowls, top with the Ma Po Tofu and garnish with green onions, if desired.

If you don’t like or want to eat pork, this dish is also wonderful made with chicken breast or turkey breast.  Just follow the same procedures as you would for the pork.

*Oyster sauce and chili garlic sauce can be found in most supermarkets or at an Oriental Grocery Store.
**Edamame (soybeans) can be found in most supermarkets in their frozen food section. If you cannot find edamame, move. Or substitute frozen peas.


Ma Po Tofu meat

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Nutritional Info

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