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Ma Po, in Chinese, means 'pock-marked old lady'. It refers to a famous Szechwan chef's wife, who created this dish in the 19th century in the provincial capital, Chengdu. Be warned! Ma Po Dofu is hot and spicy, and tofu has never tasted like this before! For a vegetarian version, omit the meat, add more tofu and, after blanching, place in the marinade ingredients for 30 minutes. Brown bean paste/sauce is salty brown sauce made from fermented soybeans, and is found in jars at most Asian markets. It is also known as yellow bean paste/sauce, soy bean condiment, "Yuan Shai Shih" or "Mo Yuen Shih". If unavailable, substitute with black bean sauce. For the Szechwan chile paste, I substituted "toban jiang", (also known as "toban jan/jyan"). Try to obtain the Szechwan peppercorns. They are what give Szechwan cuisine its distinctive flavor. This delicious dish is loosely adapted from a recipe in "Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook". It looks complicated, but I assure you it isn't! Just assemble all the ingredients before cooking.
Units: US | Metric
Serving Size: 1 (332 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 4
The following items or measurements are not included:
brown bean sauce
szechwan chili sauce