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

By • September 3, 2012 12 Comments

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Author Notes: This is my favorite dish in any Chinese restaurant, where it is normally made with ground pork. Making it with ground turkey is healthier and it tastes very similar. The best part of making Chinese dishes at home, is you can cut way back on the added fat. My daughter swears that mine is better than any restaurants. This has been a slow adaptation over the years from a recipe originally published in Food & WineRobinDiane

Serves 4

  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp. 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 jalapeno or any hot pepper that you like
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 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
  1. In a medium bowl combine the turkey, egg, 1 tbsp. of the cornstarch, the five-spice powder, 1 tbsp.of the scallions, 1/2 tsp. of the sugar, 1/4 tsp. of the sesame oil and the salt. In a wok, heat 1 tbsp. of the vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering, then add the turkey mixture and break it up as it browns. Stir fry until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Lower the heat to moderate and heat the remaining 1 1/2 tsp. of vegetable oil until hot. Stir in 6 more tbsp. of the scallions, the red pepper, jalapeno, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add the turkey and the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar; mix well. Increase the heat to high, stir in the chicken stock, soy sauce and oyster sauce and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 tsp. cornstarch in 2 tsp. of water, add the the mixture and bring back to a boil. Gently stir in the tofu, and cook until heated through. Spoon onto a serving platter and sprinkle the remaining scallions on top. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 tsp. sesame oil over the mixture. Serve with steamed rice

More Great Recipes: Beans & Legumes|Chicken|Entrees|Tofu

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Comments (12) Questions (2)


3 months ago Tanya Bodrug

WOAH, this tastes amazing and it's so easy to make!


10 months ago LeadingLatte

This looks great and I'm interested to try it, but I noticed there's not actually any bean curd in the recipe...? Is this intentional? Thanks!


3 months ago Kankay

Tofu and bean curd are one and the same....


about 1 year ago Marsha Gainey

Thanks for the encouraging words, Abbie.


about 1 year ago Marsha Gainey

I was underwhelmed with this. I expected bolder, more vibrant flavors with the five spice, fresh ginger, and oyster sauce, no to mention other seasonings, but it was underseasoned. Will not be making again.


about 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am surprised to hear this - I happen to have made this last night as well. Since it's not baking and therefore more flexible, I suggest you adjust the seasoning to your liking - did you taste the dish as you prepared it? I personally am a fan of fresh ginger so I add extra, plus I am heavy handed with the five spice. As for soy and oyster sauce, I taste at the end and adjust accordingly. I encourage you to try this again - it really is a wonderful recipe!


about 1 year ago Marsha Gainey

Thanks for the encouraging words, Abbie (that I have now placed in the correct spot!).


over 1 year ago jon407

This has become a once a month dish in our house. I'll be introducing it to our college aged son tonight.


over 1 year ago carrieberryo

This is a wonderful recipe! It's fast, inexpensive, and delicious. I didn't have oyster sauce, so I substituted a combo of soy, fish sauce, and hoisin. Like the other commenter, I added double the spices. Next time, I'll also try using a pound of turkey. My first attempt could have used a better turkey/tofu balance.


over 1 year ago Lori Cuthbert

I put in a full pound of turkey and doubled the spices; it turned out perfectly! My son even loved the tofu (first time he'd tried it - I used extra firm). I also added green beans and green cabbage that I needed to cook up - they were a perfect addition. Thanks for this - we'll be having it again.


over 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I made this last night - delicious! Really happy that it makes enough for leftovers. I added asparagus because I had some ... other than that made it as is and loved it!


over 1 year ago ChristinaLi

this turned out much sweeter than the traditional dish. I would personally cut back on the amount of sugar.