Spicy bean paste is essential for Ma Po tofu. I use spicy bean paste from Sichuan to get the authentic spicy flavor (郫县豆瓣酱). The numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorn (花椒) is called "Ma" 麻。
Open the tofu package. Use a knife to divide the tofu into small cubes within the box. No mess!
In a small pot, heat cooking oil. Add ginger, scallion and garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds.
Add spicy bean paste and Sichuan peppercorn (optional), cook on high heat for 30 seconds.
Brown the grounded beef (ignore the picture, the beef is supposed to be mixed with the spicy bean paste at this point.)
Add tofu and soy sauce in the pot. Cook on high heat until boil and simmer for 15 mins.
Garnish with fresh scallion. Yummy! Perfect with white rice or noodles.