I have made this recipe a number of times. I love it. The only thing I do different is add more veggies. I would love to add more "fire" to this dish but I am th eonly one who can stand the heat.
"Ma stands for "mazi" (Pinyin: mázi Traditional Chinese 麻子,) which means a person disfigured by pockmarks. Po (Chinese 婆) translates as "old woman". Hence, Ma Po is an old woman whose face was pockmarked. Legend says that the pock-marked old woman (má pó) was a widow who lived in the Chinese city of Chengdu. Due to her condition, her home was placed on the outskirts of the city. By coincidence, it was near a road where traders often passed. Although the rich merchants could afford to stay within the numerous inns of the prosperous city while waiting for their goods to sell, poor farmers would stay in cheaper inns scattered along the sides of roads on the outskirts of the ancient city.
It is said that the first people who tasted the old woman's cooking were a farmer and his son who arrived late to the city during a terrible rainstorm. They were forced to find shelter in the old woman's home having found that all of the inns were full.
Pleased with the company, the old woman prepared them a meal from her paltry larder, including the dish now known as Ma Po Dou fu. The dish was so delicious that soon each time the father and son passed the old woman's home, they would stay for a meal. In this way, the old woman's renown spread as others joined the father and son in visiting and staying at her home. These visitors would often bring the ingredients for her dish so as not to burden her larder."
Ma Po Tofu
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2006
my input is in red
1 pound package firm tofu
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 T low sodium soy sauce
1 T oyster sauce
1 T corn starch
1-2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce
4 oz. lean ground pork (I grind my own pork to limit the fat even more)
1 T grated ginger
3 garlic cloves
2 cups cooked long grain brown rice
1/3 cup green onions (I add way more green onions)
1 cup cabbage chopped small 1 1/2 cups peas
Grind pork and marinate with 2 T soy sauce, ginger to taste, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 2 teaspoons sugar. Marinate overnight if possible.
Place tofu slices on several layers of paper towel ( I use tea towels to avoid waste). Place a dinner plate on top of covered tofu, let stand 30 minutes. Remove plate, discard paper towels. Cut tofu into 1/2 inch cubes.
Combine broth and next four ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add pork, cook four minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Add chopped cabbage, cook until golden. Add ginger and garlic, cook one minute stirring constantly. Add tofu, peas cook four minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add broth mixture to pan. Bring to a boil, cook 1 minute or until thick. Remove from heat.
Serve tofu mixture over rice. Sprinkle with onions. Yield four servings.
1/2 cup rice, 3/4 cup pork mixture and two tablespoons onions is 290 Calories