I love a bowl of Ma Po To Fu over hot steamy rice, a good plate of Ma-po tofu is usually very spicy (as in chilli heat) and has a strong characteristic of "Mala", the numbing sensation came from Sichuan Pepper (花椒) used in preparing this dish.
The combination of these two spices are so addicting that I always have a box of Sichuan Style minced meat ready in the fridge, so that I could always cook this dish in under 20 minutes!
1 box of silken tofu
1/2 cup of Sichuan Style Minced Meat
1 tbsp Chopped Spring onion (For Garnish)
1 tbsp Minced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp Spicy fermented Soy bean paste (辣豆瓣醬）
1/2 tsp Sichuan Pepper Powder
1 tsp Corn Starch
1/2 cup Chicken stock/water
Salt to taste
Note : you could also use 1/2 cup of minced meat (Any type turkey, chicken, pork or beef ), add 1 tbsp of minced garlic and ginger, stir fry with 2-3 tbsp of oil, with 2 tbsp of spicy fermented Soy bean as alternative to Sichuan Style Minced Meat.
Minced together ginger and garlic. In a heavy bottom pot, add 2 tbsp of oil, stir fry minced garlic and ginger until fragrance. I also add 1 tsp of chopped spring onion here, it gives a nice smell to the dish.
Add 1/2 cup of Sichuan Style Minced Meat , stir well add 1 1/2 tbsp spicy fermented soy bean paste. Cook until oil separated at the edge of minced meat.Pour in chicken stock/water, bring to boil.
Carefully cubed the silken tofu, and carefully add them into boiling stock. Turn heat to medium low, simmer for 10-15 minutes.
DO NOT over stir the tofu, just use a spatula to slowly push the tofu a few times to prevent sticking to the bottom. This helps to maintain the shape of tofu.
Add salt or soy sauce to taste, continue cooking until water reduced to desire thickness.
In a small bowl, add corn starch and half of Sichuan pepper powder, make a watery paste by adding 3-4 tbsp of water, pour into the boilng tofu, stir quickly and switch off the stove immediately, this will thicken gravy instantly.
Garnish with chopped spring onion and remaining sichuan pepper powder.