Chinese Hamburger Helper (a.k.a. Ma Po Tofu)


Last night I got the craving for one of my favorite quick and easy Chinese dishes, Ma Po Tofu.  I may be way off base from typical taste buds, but the tofu in this meal seems to have a cheesy quality about it in both taste and texture.  My husband, who is in no way shape or form a tofu fan, really likes it.  Though I have yet to trial it with little ones, it does seem like a dish I would have loved as a kid.

As a shortcut, I purchased Soga’s pre-cubed extra-firm tofu.  It turned out to have less tofu in the package, but the convenience was nice.  Since I didn’t have a zucchini on hand, I used some thickly sliced mushrooms.  They worked equally well, but the zucchini does add nice color to the dish.

I find this dish has a very mild “cheesy” taste, from the extra-firm tofu we use.  It is so easy, and I usually have the needed ingredients on hand.  Not to mention, it is great comfort food.

Special Diet Notes: Ma Po Tofu

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, peanut-free, nut-free, and gluten-free.

Chinese Hamburger Helper (a.k.a. Ma Po Tofu)
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 piece ginger (3/4 in section) or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 12 oz extra-firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (or cooking oil of choice)
  • ½ pound ground beef or pork
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2-3 tablespoons black bean sauce
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1-2 small chile peppers diced or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Sesame Oil (optional)
  • Chili Oil (optional)
  • Hot Rice
  1. Peel ginger and mince. Remove root end and any wilted parts from the green onions, rinse the rest and cut into rings. Peel garlic and mince. Cut Tofu into ½ inch cubes. Heat oil in a wok or pan, add ginger and garlic and saute for 1 min. Add ground meat and stir fry until lightly browned and crumbly.
  2. Spoon bean sauce in and stir, pour chicken broth in and heat. Add Tofu and zucchini to the mix and heat for about 5 minutes. Add green onions and bean sprouts, heat for 2 min. Serve with sesame oil and hot chili oil alongside for drizzling as condiments.
  3. Serve over hot brown or white rice

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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