When we come across the word 'Ma Po', automatically we relate it to Chinese cuisine. Indeed it is and according to the Chef of this cookbook, there is a story behind the word. Chef Yee Yo wrote that Ma Po, is the pockmarked Grandma who invented this dish in the 1860s. She creatively transformed the bland bean curd into a powerfully spicy dish. The family owns a food shop 'Chen's Ma Po Bean Curd Shop' in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Apart from Ma Po Tofu, the shop serves many other bean curd and non bean curd dishes. It manufactures fresh bean curd daily. The ingredients in this recipe are essentially the same as those used by Ma Po more than a 100 years ago.
A tasty vegetarian Ma Po Tofu dish which is not that spicy as you expect of a Sichuan dish. It is quite mild in taste and not as oily like in most Sichuan cuisine.
Recipe adapted from ‘You Can Cook Anything Chinese’ by Madame Yee Yo with modificationsIngredients
2 pieces tofu [soft bean curd] - cubed
30 gm dried glutton pieces
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 heaped tbsp fermented black beans - rinsed and chopped
1 tbsp preserved soy bean paste - chopped *
1 tsp chilli boh* [replacing 1 tbsp of hot dao ban jiang]
2 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp each salt, pepper and msg
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
Garnishing - chopped Chinese celery [kin chye] or coriander leaves
- Heat oil in a non-stick wok, saute ginger until aromatic, add in black beans, soybean paster and chilli boh.
- Stir to fry until fragrant, add in the dried glutton. Stir after addition. Add in seasoning sauce and water.
- Bring to boil, then add in the tofu cubes. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the flavours are well infused.
- Thicken with cornstarch mix, bring to boil.
- Dish up and garnish with Chinese celery or coriander leaves. Serve hot.