Utah Bites

Ma-Po Tofu Noodles

Ma-po (or ma po or mapo) tofu is a signature dish of Chinese Sichuan cuisine, but it’s quite easy to make at home.


Ma-po (or ma po or mapo) tofu is a signature dish of Chinese Sichuan cuisine, but it’s quite easy to make at home. Ma-po tofu is typically served with white rice. However, I decided to change things up a bit and make it with noodles. Since my wife is gluten free, I used Thai rice noodles, but you could use whatever type of noodle you prefer. 


  • 1 package (1 lb.) firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork (you could also use beef or even ground turkey or chicken)
  • 2 Tbsp hot bean sauce (available at Asian markets)
  • 7-8 fresh Thai chilies, minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 14-oz. can chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil (peanut, vegetable or canola)
  • 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2-3 minced scallions
  • ½ lb. noodles, cooked or soaked (for rice noodles) according to package directions


  1. Drain and pat dry the tofu to get rid of excess water. I let the tofu sit on paper towels for a half-hour or so before using. Dice the tofu into approximately 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl or ramekin, make a cornstarch paste slurry using equal parts cornstarch and water (1 tbsp. each).
  3. Heat the cooking oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pork, bean paste, optional Thai chilies, and ginger. Quickly stir-fry the pork until just browned.
  4. Add the chicken stock, tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, and black pepper to the wok and stir well.
  5. Simmer the mixture over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated – about 10-20 minutes.
  6. Add the cornstarch paste to the wok and stir thoroughly to incorporate. If the sauce is too thin, add more cornstarch paste. The sauce should be gravy-like, not too soupy.
  7. Stir the prepared noodles into the tofu mixture until well mixed. 
  8. Sprinkle with the minced scallions and serve. 



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Food writer Ted SchefflerOriginally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.

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