Chefs' Recipes

Sunda's lamb ma po tofu with green beans

Chef Khanh Nguyen learnt this recipe during his time at Sydney's Mr Wong, and now it's a hit at staff meals at his Melbourne restaurant.

By Khanh Nguyen
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking
  • Serves 4 - 6
  • Print
"This is a recipe I learnt from Dan Hong at Mr Wong," says Khanh Nguyen from Sunda. "Since then, I've cooked it at almost every place I've worked and its always been a hit."


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 15 gm ginger (about 3cm), finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 200 gm minced lamb
  • 2 tbsp Lao Gan Ma peanuts in chilli oil (see note)
  • 2 tbsp Fu Chi bean sauce (see note)
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 1½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1½ tsp arrowroot flour mixed with 1½ tsp cold water
  • Coriander and thinly sliced spring onion, to serve
  • Steamed rice, to serve
Soy custard
  • 400 ml unsweetened soy milk
  • 3 ½ eggs, lightly beaten
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) white soy sauce (see note)
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
Green beans cooked in caramel
  • 50 gm caster sugar
  • 1 small red shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 birdseye chillies, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp red vinegar (see note)
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 400 gm green beans
  • Fried shallots, to serve


  • 1
    Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic and chilli and stir until lightly caramelised (3-5 minutes). Add lamb mince, and cook, breaking up mince with a wooden spoon, until light golden (3-4 minutes). Add Lao Gan Ma, bean sauce and Shaoxing and cook until liquid has reduced to almost nothing (3-4 minutes). Add stock, cover, and simmer over medium heat until stock just covers mince (30 minutes). Add remaining ingredients (except arrowroot), stir to combine, then stir in arrowroot slurry, bring to the boil and cook until thickened slightly (1-2 minutes). Keep warm.
  • 2
    For soy custard, combine ingredients and ½ tsp fine salt in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Strain into a wide 1.5 litre serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and steam in a steamer over a saucepan of boiling water until custard is set (15 minutes).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for green beans, combine sugar and 1½ tbsp water in a large frying pan over high heat and cook until golden (3-4 minutes). Add shallot, garlic and chilli, cook for 1 minute, then add fish sauce and vinegars (be careful, hot caramel will spit) and bring to the boil to dissolve sugar (5-10 seconds). Add beans and cook, stirring to coat and glaze, until tender (3-4 minutes). Top with shallots.
  • 4
    Top soy custard with mince, coriander and spring onion and serve with rice and beans.


Lao Gan Ma, Fu Chi bean sauce and red vinegar are available from Asian grocers. White soy sauce is available from Japanese supermarkets. Substitute with light soy sauce.
Wine suggestion 2018 Gravity Wine Co Zero Gravity. Wine suggestion by Brad Hammond.