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Ma Po Tofu Sichuan Recipe

Ma Po Tofu Sichuan Recipe

It feels like months since I last updated my blog and prior to giving birth I used to update my blog every week or so, but recently I’ve spent a lot of time working towards my new illustrator business, setting up a website for it and most importantly working on my portfolio. While I have still been cooking in recent times, with both Chris and my workloads we don’t really have time to sit down and eat elaborate meals so we’ve been eating fairly simply.

One thing I have felt though is a bit lost for not having time to cook. I’m due to go back to working in the same restaurant I worked in before part-time and I do actually miss the feeling of cooking properly. I also spent roughly two years working on this website so it’s upset me a litle not being able to update it.

Just recently as well, Chris has been incredibly busy with his photography business so he hasn’t had the time to photograph any dishes for me and we’ve both been really sick with baby flu which Amelia picked up at nursery. Seriously, if you haven’t had a baby, be warned(!), baby flu is literally 10 times worse than adult flu.

So to get back into the run of my blog, I had a re go at cooking and photographing one of my original recipes from this website, Ma Po Tofu. Here is the orignal blog with the story behind this dish and the recipe. I hope you will like it. 🙂

麻婆豆腐) Ma Po Tofu is a well known dish from Sichuan. The creator is a lady who has pockmark on her face and pockmark is Ma in Chinese and Po is a respectful form for a old lady. Ma Po had this small restaurant in Chengdu city and the most of her customers were porters. They usually bought some tofu and mince to ask Ma Po to cook them something to eat. After a long time, this tofu dish got more and more popular and famous, so people named this dish after Ma Po’s name. That’s how we called this dish Ma Po tofu.

I also know of a British chef called Fuchsia Dunlop who is a so called expert on Chinese food after she learnt some Chinese and spent some time at a cookery school in China. The way she pronounces this dish in Chinese translates to “Pock-Marked Mother Chen’s Bean Curd” but if you ever go to a Chinese restaurant in Sichuan or Sichuan restaurant in Taiwan and China . ” Ma Po Tofu “ is the proper way to call this dish.

I went to the original site of Ma Po’s restaurant in Chengdu when I was 14 year-old. But this restaurant was burned down in 2005. Many people felt really sad about this as Ma Po’s restaurant plays an important part in the history of Sichuan cuisine. So, the Sichuan government rebuilt it again at another address in Chengdu city.

Here is one of the cooking methods for Ma Po tofu which was taught to me by my grandpa. My grandpa originated from Sichuan and was a really excellent cook and some of my happiest memories are of the time I spent with him in the kitchen learning to cook many different delicious dishes.

ma po tofu sichuan recipe

 

 

Ma Po Tofu Sichuan Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 600 g tofu
  • 230 g pork mince or beef mince but I used pork
  • 2 spring onions chop really fine
  • 2 cloves garlic chop really fine

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tsp Sichuan pepper powder

Instructions

  1. Remove the hard edge of Tofu and cut it into 1.5 cm cubes. Place it into a plate with kitchen napkin to suck the water from tofu.
  2. Heat your wok with two tablespoons of oil and sauté pork mince. Add spring onion, garlic and chilli bean paste in. stir it constantly for another 20 seconds. Season it with soy sauce, salt, sugar and add tofu cubes into it, gently mix everything together but do not damage the shape of the tofu.
  3. Pour a cup of stock to reduce it down. This way can make tofu suck all flavour from sauce and stock.
  4. After reducing the stock, place it into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle a little bit of chopped spring onion on top to garnish it.

ma po tofu sichuan recipe

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

fish fragrant tofu

I’ve mentioned so many benefits of tofu in my previous blog post and here is another tofu recipe that I want to share with you today.

“Fish fragrant tofu” (魚香豆腐) is one of many famous dishes from Sichuan cuisine. It has “fish” in the name of it but without fish in this dish. It’s called “fish fragrant” because the ingredients for this dish are usually used when cooking fish but people use it for cook tofu, eggplant and other dishes.

There is a story about this fish fragrant dish. A long time ago in Sichuan, there was a family who were really serious when It came to cooking fish. They will use ginger, spring onion, garlic, mince, chilli bean sauce and other ingredients to cook with fish. One day, the lady of this family didn’t want to waste the ingredients so she used the ingredients to cook another dish. She was however realy nervous that it wouldn’t taste nice and her husband wouldn’t like it.

Her husband came home while she was thinking about what she should explain to her husband later about this dish. Her husband was so hungry from work he didn’t wait for dinner to start and literally just took a few bites of this dish. He asked his wife: ”Oh, this dish is the most tasty dish that I ever had in my life, how did you do it?” She told him how she cooked it and they gave the name of this dish “fish fragrant fry (魚香炒)”. This is how “fish fragrant” this name came from.

People who are vegetarian can also cook this dish but just without using any mince. You can adjust the amount of chilli and chilli bean sauce if you prefer your food more or less spicy.

As people who follow my Facebook page will know, I recently bought a pink knife bag. I really like anything that’s pink and when I saw this bag online I just had to buy it! Here are some of photos of my new pink knife bag.

Credit: All photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

pink knife bag
pink knife bag
pink knife bag

Don’t you think this is the cutest knife bag ever!

 

Fish Fragrant Tofu Chinese tofu recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes tofu around 692g, I bought it from a regular supermarket
  • 1 spring onion chop finely. I used half for the sauce and the other half for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 2 slices ginger chop finely
  • 1 chili chop finely
  • 100 g beef or pork mince I used beef mince in this dish

Seasonings

  • 1 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 drops sesame oil approximately
  • 1 cup water

Marinade for mince

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches white pepper powder approximately

Instructions

  1. Marinade mince with sugar, soy sauce, salt and white pepper powder for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the packaging from the tofu and cut it into 1.5 cm thick pieces.
  3. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry the spring onion, garlic, ginger and chilli for 30 seconds.
  4. Add mince into the wok and keep stir-frying it until the mince is cooked.
  5. Add chilli bean sauce to stir-fry it for 30 seconds. Add rest of the seasonings into wok and bring it to boil.
  6. Add tofu into wok and gently push them into seasonings and turn the gas power to the lowest and simmer it for 10 minutes.
  7. Place the tofu onto a plate and pour some sauce on top. Sprinkle the rest of the chopped spring onion on top and it’s ready to serve.

 

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

crispy chicken with chili sauce

Crispy chicken with chili sauce, known in Chinese as 椒麻雞 is a dish that my grandpa cooked for me often when I was young. I always helped grandpa to grind the Sichuan peppers for this dish with a mortar and pestle. This dish always brings back my earliest kitchen memories. Grandpa used to pan fry the Sichuan peppers first and then give to me to grind. He always told me this method of preparing Sichuan peppers will make the flavour of the pepper stronger and taste much better.

Even now, mortars and pestles still play a very important part in my cooking. It’s a versatile tool and is much cheaper than a hand grinder. You can buy it in a lot of shop.

As you can imagine with the Sichuan peppers, this dish tastes a little bit spicy. You can adjust the percentage of Sichuan peppers and chilis if you can’t eat food that’s too spicy. Here is my little suggestion before you start grinding the Sichuan pepper. Heat up a frying pan or wok without oil and stir-fry the Sichuan pepper at the lowest heat first. Once you start to smell the fragrance then turn off the gas and start grinding it. Don’t burn the Sichuan pepper or the sauce will taste bitter and damage the whole dish.

People boil the chicken for this dish in real Sichuan cuisine but grandpa knew I loved fried chicken (You know, kids love fried chicken. I’m not exceptional lol) so he always fried the chicken for me. This dish works both ways, but I chose fried chicken today because my husband loves it too.

Credits:  Photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

 

Crispy Chicken with Chili Sauce

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken legs de-bone them
  • 2 spring onions chop finely
  • 1 fresh chili remove seeds then chop finely
  • 2 cloves garlic grate finely
  • 1-2 fresh coriander bunches including leaves and stalk. Chop finely
  • 2 tbsp sweet potato starch or potato starch and 2 tbsp flour. Your choice

Seasonings and ingredients for chicken marinade

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 spring onion chop finely
  • 2 thin slices ginger chop finely
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Seasonings for chili sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar add 1/4 tsp more sugar if you use white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. De-bone chicken leg and marinade with the seasonings and ingredients for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix all the seasonings for spicy sauce with spring onion, chilli, garlic, coriander. Mix them evenly and leave for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Coat the chicken with sweet potato powder. Heat up a wok with 2~3 cups of oil. The oil temperature should be around 150℃ and deep fry the chicken at a low heat for 5 minutes. Take out the chicken and heat up the oil again with full gas power. Deep fry the chicken until it’s crispy with a slightly golden colour.
  4. Place the chicken on a plate and pour the dressing on the top to serve.