A modern interpretation of a venerable Szechuan dish uses tofu gnocchi instead of the familiar tofu cubes. Photography by Lou Manna.


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April 2009

Product Reviews / NutriNibbles

Gourmet Tofu Recipe

Page 2: Mabo Tofu Gnocchi



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Mabo Tofu Gnocchi

This dish is  a play on the Szechuan Chinese dish mabo tofu or mabo doufu (the Japanese spelling is mabo tofu) made with extra firm tofu and spicy chili paste. Traditional mabo tofu is a combination of tofu cubes set in a spicy chili- and bean-based sauce, topped with minced pork or beef. The traditional Asian flavors remain, but the recipe calls for a modern technique resulting in preparation of Tofu gnocchi. Serves 4-6.


  • Extra Firm Tofu2 packages extra firm tofu, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ pound ground pork (substitute beef
    if desired)
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons  chili-garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½  teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed into a slurry with 1 tablespoon chicken stock
  • 5 scallions, whites chopped, greens cut on a bias


  1. Bring a large pot of salted  water to a boil. Blend tofu at high speed until smooth.
  2. Transfer tofu purée to a bowl and add tapioca flour and salt. Mix well until smooth then let rest for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Transfer  tofu to a piping bag with a ½” round tip. To make the gnocchi, cut tofu into 1” long pieces as you squeeze the mixture directly over the boiling water. Cook gnocchi for 1 minute after they float to the surface. Transfer gnocchi to an ice bath with a slotted spoon and cool  completely. Drain gnocchi on paper towels.
  4. Mabo TofuIn a small bowl, mix chili-garlic paste with soy sauce, stock, sugar and sesame oil.
  5. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add ground pork to pan and brown. Transfer browned pork to a bowl.
  6. In the same sauté pan, add the other tablespoon of oil and sauté onions with garlic and ginger until onions are translucent. Add pork back into pan and then add chili-garlic mixture. 
  7. Bring to a boil and then add  cornstarch slurry.  Bring to a boil again and then reduce heat. Add chopped scallion whites and keep warm.
  8. Heat gnocchi gently in a  sauté pan using a small amount of water. When hot, place gnocchi in a bowl and top with ground pork sauce. Garnish with scallion greens.


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