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Ma Po Tofu Recipe

I love Chinese food – well I’m not sure you’d call it authentic Chinese food. But really, it’s the food that you get at the local Chinese take-out restaurants – the chicken with broccoli, the chow mein, the noodles – you know, Americanized (or Canadianized, I suppose) Chinese food. We love the sweet, spicy flavours of this cuisine but not the calories that come along with it. And since we love the flavours of this food so much, we often make what’s called “take-out, fake-out” food at home. We try to replicate our favourite take-out meals at home to cut the calorie and cost impact of their take-out versions.

This recipe in particular is not one I’ve ever had as a take-out option and it’s not really one I expected a lot from when I put it on our menu last week either. BUT – the flavours totally knocked our socks off and we may just have finished off the entire dish that night. This dish was, and I don’t say this lightly, was one of THE BEST dishes we’ve had. The ground pork got caramelized from the high heat and the tofu was flavourful and chewy and the sauce was slightly spicy with a hint garlic – so so perfect!

The dish itself comes together very quickly – from start to finish took no longer than 30 minutes for me. In fact, the prep time is way longer than cook time for this one – the whole dish cooks in less than 10 minutes!

Ma Po Tofu Recipe

Prep time:  15 mins

Cook time:  10 mins

Total time:  25 mins

Serves: 4 Ingredients

  • 2.5 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or Shaoxing wine, divided
  • ½ pound lean ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chicle paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups rice, cooked


  1. Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry and pork; set aside.
  2. Mix tofu with ½ tablespoon soy sauce. Heat oil in a work over high heat. Add tofu mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add pork mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes. Stir in onions and next 4 ingredients (through salt); stir-fry 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon sherry or cooking wine and broth; cook 2 minutes.
  3. Combine cornstarch and water; stir with a whisk. Add to work; cook 30 seconds or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Serve over rice.

NotesOne big change I made was making my ground pork from lean pork chops in the food processor. This was more out of necessity as the grocery store had no ground pork – but the result was really great and took such little time that I will be doing this in the future. In order to grind the pork, I froze it slightly (about 15 minutes) and then pulsed it in the food processor until it was slightly smaller than peas.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1¼C tofu mixture, ½ C rice Calories: 342 Fat: 14.3 Saturated fat: 3.8 Carbohydrates: 27.8 Fiber: 0.3 Protein: 23.3 Cholesterol: 43

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