Sichuan-ish Spicy Tofu stir-fried with Minced Pork: Ma-La Tofu (or Ma-Bo Tofu in Japan)

Ma-La Tofu is one of the signature dishes in the Sichuan region in China. “Ma (麻)” means “numbing spicy” and “La (辣)” means “hot spicy.” When I went to Sichuan, I had the authentic Sichuan spicy tofu. It was completely covered with Sichuan black pepper powder which was super “numbing spicy” and I could hardly see the white tofu.

After Ma-La tofu was introduced in Japan, it was modified and the spiciness was mildened for Japanese people. It is commonly called “Ma-Bo Tofu” in Chinese restaurants in Japan.

Therefore, my spicy tofu is also Japanese style and not exactly the Ma-La Tofu which you could eat in Sichuan province. If you prefer the authentic one, you can use lots of Sichuan pepper instead of black pepper.

Ingredients for Spicy Tofu with minced Pork:

  • Minced Pork: 200 g
  • Tofu: 1 package (454g)
  • Onion: 1 medium size
  • Spring Onion: 2-3
  • Garlic: 2-3 cloves
  • Ginger: 1 piece
  • Hot Red Chili: 1
  • Shaoxing Cooking Wine: 1 tablespoon (or white wine as a substitute)
  • Sambal: 2-3 tablespoons (or Doubanjiang: Spicy Bean Paste)
  • Soy Sauce: 1-2 teaspoons
  • Vegetable Oil: 1.5 tablespoons
  • Salt and Black Pepper

My favourite Tofu for this dish is Rooster brand silky Tofu. You can also make it with firm Tofu, but the texture would be different. You may want to add a little chicken soup stock (around 50 ml, maybe) when you use a firm tofu.


  • Chop up the garlic and ginger, onion, spring onion (note that we will use the white part and green part of the spring onion separately) and hot red chilli
  • Drain the tofu and cut it into small cubes

How to Cook Spicy Tofu with minced Pork:

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok, add chopped garlic, ginger and the white part of the spring onion

2. Add the minced pork, salt, black pepper and Shaoxing cooking wine

3. Cook the pork on a medium heat until it gets coloured

4. Add tofu and cook it on a high heat while roughly breaking it down with a spatula

5. When the moisture comes out of the tofu, add sambal, stir them

6. Add soy sauce and red chilli pepper, stir them again, season with salt and black pepper

7. Take it off the heat, put on a plate and sprinkle the green part of the spring onion on the top.


You can use Doubanjiang (Chinese spicy bean paste) instead of Sambal. If you use it, add 2-3 teaspoons of Doubanjiang to garlic, ginger and onions (before adding the pork in the wok). The spiciness of Doubanjiang differs from product to product. You may need to find your favourite ratio of the paste.  

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