This recipe is basically a cheat’s version of one of Neil Perry’s favourite dishes – the Sichuan classic, Ma Po Tofu. Ma Po Tofu loosely translates as “pockmarked-face lady’s tofu”, given that its usual appearance reminded people of the acne-scarred face of the lady serving it – no, seriously. It is from his book Simply Asian – a book that is the base of one of the Asian cooking classes at Wickedfood Cooking School. In his version of Ma Po Tofu, the tofu is kept in cubes rather than being chopped up with the pork mince – this way you can enjoy the jelly-like texture of the silken tofu. Serve as a lunch or light dinner for two, with rice.


200g pork mince
1T  vegetable oil
3 long green shallots, sliced into rounds
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
120ml  soy & chilli sauce
1-2t  sugar
1 packet silken tofu, cut into 2cm cubes
1 handful coriander leaves
Pinch of ground Sichuan pepper
Finely sliced shallots, for garnish

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan until hot.
  • Add the pork mince to the wok and break up with a spoon, then continue to stir-fry until the mince starts to brown.
  • Add the shallots and garlic, stir fry for 20-30 seconds, then reduce the heat to low.
  • Pour in the soy & chilli sauce, add the sugar and carefully place the tofu into the wok. Cover with a lid and gently simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the tofu has warmed through. Remove from the heat, gently stir through the coriander leaves and transfer to a serving plate.
  • Sprinkle with Sichuan pepper and garnish with sliced shallots. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.


Serves 2

Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking studio. Cookery classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – teambuilding cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.

Our cooking lessons are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and team building cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.