Weeknights with Jenny

Ma Po Tofu (Stir-Fried Bean Curd with Turkey)

By • December 16, 2013 • 3 Comments

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Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.

Today: Everyone needs a few recipes they can cook while on the phone. Here's Jenny's new one. 

Ma Po Tofu from Food52

Have I told all of you about the office food club? If so, pretend you didn't hear!

Once a month or so a bunch of us get together and cook something for a group lunch, generally based around a theme. Sometimes it gets a little highbrow, like the time we cooked a recipe from one of our favorite books (although my colleague Helene brought it down a notch by plowing downstairs with a pitcher of bloody marys and a copy of "Twilight") -- but sometimes, it is by region.

Anyone can participate as long as they cook their dish; those who try and fob off store-bought food have been removed. It's a cooking club people, not an eating club!

This month, for Asian food week, I went for Ma Po Tofu (Stir-Fried Bean Curd with Turkey). This dish, in its pork-version, is well known to denizens of Sichuan restaurants, and is surprisingly easy and quick to put together.

FACT: I prepared the entire dish -- doubled -- while talking to a colleague on the phone about the very fine contributions an editor had made to my latest collaboration that I chose to celebrate by yelling a lot. Ahem. So the salient point here is you really you don't have to pay close attention to cook this. 

The big twist here is the ground turkey, rather than the pork, which was a boon for me because of my weekly ground turkey delivery. 

I omitted the sweet red peppers because I hate them, but you probably should not. The only nit I have is that ma po tofu is known for its heat and I found this version a bit too mild -- BUT that may be because I didn't add quite enough heat in the doubling. Anyway, kids may prefer it that way.  

Ma Po Tofu (Stir-Fried Bean Curd with Ground Turkey) by RobinDiane

Serves 4

1/2 pound ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/2 cup minced scallions
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeño or any hot pepper that you like
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup chicken stock or low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 pound fresh firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

Jump to Comments (3)

Tags: jenny, weeknight cooking, chinese food, tofu

Comments (3)


11 months ago jon407

Whether or not this is authentic Mapo Tofu, it is very good nonetheless. We've enjoyed it a number of times. Would either of you be willing to offer up a reduced ingredient recipe for this same dish. I've looked at other recipes and they all seem to have many more ingredients. Thanks in advance


over 1 year ago Lnb

Good grief ........ five spice power in Mapo Tofu ..... NEVER! Gag this Asian (me) with a spoon please.


over 1 year ago Mandy @ Lady and pups

This is NOT, at all, what mapo tofu is.