Mapo Tofu is a popular Chinese dish from Szechuan province. It consists Tofu in a spicy sauce, typically a thin, oily, and bright red suspension, based on fermented broadbean and chili paste, fermented black beans along with minced beef.

 

Ma stands for "Ma-Zi" which means pockmarks. Po ist the first syllable of "Popo" which means an old woman or grandmother. Hence, Mapo is an old woman whose face is pockmarked.  This tofu dish is named after its creator. It is believed that there was a couple who own a restaurant mainly selling vegetarian dishes in Szechuan. The wife also the cook got pockmarks on her face. Her tofu dishes were very popular among the guests. Ma stands for "Ma-Zi" which means pockmarks. Po ist the first syllable of "Popo" which means an old woman or grandmother. Hence, Mapo is an old woman whose face is pockmarked. 

Authentic Mapo Tofu is powerfully spicy with both conventional "heat" spiciness and the characteristic "Ma-La" flavour of Szechuan cuisine. The most important and necessary ingredients used in this dish that give it the distinctive flavour are fermented braodbean chili paste, fermented black beans, chili oil, grounded chili, Szechuan pepper corn, garlic, spring onions and rice wine.

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