Bean Curd Home Style vs Szechuan Style: What’s The Difference?

Bean Curd Home Style vs Szechuan Style
  • Save
Bean Curd Home Style vs Szechuan Style

Tofu, or what many call bean curd, is one of South East Asia’s most loved dishes. Bean curd is made by coagulating soy milk. Once curdled, the liquid is pressed, separating the whey.

What is left is the beloved food type and essential Asian ingredient, tofu.

Now, most of us are familiar with this tasty, versatile ingredient, but what if you had to be asked to choose between bean curd, home-style, and Szechuan style bean curd?

We’ll be taking you through a complete overview of all the differences so you always know which is the clear winner between bean curd home-style vs. Szechuan style.

There are subtle differences, making each better suited to particular types of recipes. Knowing which to make makes all the difference, letting your dishes always come out perfect.

Bean Curd Home Style vs. Szechuan Style Comparison

  Home Style Bean Curd Szechuan Style Bean Curd
Origin China – Sichuan, And Chongqing China – Sichuan Province
Flavor Light, Salty, Mildly Spicy, Tangy Hot, Spicy, Bold Rich Umami
Texture Firm & Crunchy Tender, Soft, Saucy
Preparation Difficulty Quick And Easy Straightforward But Slightly More Time-Consuming
Tofu Type Firm Tofu Medium-Firm Tofu Or Silken Tofu

An Overview Of Bean Curd Home Style vs Szechuan Style

Here’s a complete breakdown of bean curd home-style vs. Szechuan style including instructions on how to cook up your own at home.

Home Style Bean Curd

Home Style Bean Curd
  • Save

Home-style bean curd is the most-followed method of making bean curd. If you don’t know anything about making bean curd, this is your best option.

It’s affordable and easy to make, and there are tons of ways to use and serve home-style bean curd once it’s ready.

  • Origin

Home-style tofu originates in China as a part of Sichuan Cuisine which rose to popularity in the Sichuan Province and Chongqing.

According to lore, tofu (or bean curd) was originally discovered by a Chinese cook over 2000 years ago. After accidentally curdling soy milk by adding nigari seaweed, the substance we know as tofu today was discovered.

  • Flavor

Home-style tofu is mildly salty with a fresh flavor. The light flavor notes of tofu come through stronger when eating home-style bean curd, with touches of tangy spiciness lingering lightly.

  • Texture

You’ll find that home-style bean curd is firmer than Szechuan style tofu and not as soft. It’s less saucy, with a good degree of crunch left to the tofu. 

  • Difficulty

Between the two varieties, home-style bean curd is easier to make, and it’s quicker to prepare to take slightly fewer ingredients.

  • Tofu Type

The best type of tofu for home-style bean curd is firm tofu, as firm as you can get it. Medium firmness will work but doesn’t fry as well.

How To Make Home Style Bean Curd

There are many tasty ways to prepare home-style bean curd. Here’s one of our favorite traditional ways of preparing this nutritious, affordable high-protein meal.


  • One Large (14 Ounce) Block Of Firm Tofu Cut Into One Inch Cubes
  • Two Tablespoons Of Doubanjiang (Chilli Bean Sauce)
  • One Tablespoon Of Sesame Oil
  • Two Tablespoons Of Sugar
  • Six Cloves Of Garlic
  • One Inch Cube Of Garlic, Thinly Sliced
  • Three Green Onions, Cubed Into Inches
  • One-Third of A Cup Carrot, Thinly Sliced
  • One Large Bell Pepper, Sliced Into Diamond Or Cubes
  • One Sliced Bamboo Shoot (Or 8-Oz Canned Shoots)
  • Three Tablespoons Of Cornstarch
  • Two Tablespoons Of Water


  • Four Tablespoons Of Soy Sauce
  • One Tablespoon Of Chinkiang/ Chinese Black Vinegar (Alternatively, 50/50 Rice Or Wine Vinegar & Soy Sauce)
  • One Tablespoon Oyster Sauce (Or Tianmian Sweet Bean Sauce)
  • Three Tablespoons Vegetable Stock (Or Chicken Stock)


  1. Combine three tablespoons of water with two tablespoons of cornstarch and mix well.
  2. Mix your sauce ingredients and combine well.
  3. Brown your tofu in a skillet, pan, or pot with a little oil, frying on each side until golden brown before removing and setting aside.
  4. In the same pan, saute your garlic, ginger, green onion (only the white section of the onion), and a tablespoon of doubanjiang for roughly two to three minutes.
  5. Add the carrots, bell peppers, and bamboo to the pan and fry for thirty seconds.
  6. Add the tofu and fry for a further thirty seconds to a minute.
  7. Pour the sauce over your stir-fry and turn up the heat while stirring and flipping infrequently.
  8. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer while flipping for roughly five minutes.
  9. Take the green part leftover from your green onion and mix it into the stirfry.
  10. Pour the cornstarch and water mixture you made earlier into your pan and stir gently using a spatula.
  11. Add two tablespoons of sugar and your sesame oil. 
  12. Continue stirring until your sauce reaches the right thickness.

That’s it! Your home-style bean curd is ready to be served, and we recommend dishing it up over steamed rice for a traditional serving suggestion.

Szechuan Style Bean Curd

Szechuan Style Bean Curd
  • Save

Silky smooth Szechuan style bean curd is far smoother than home-style tofu.

It’s widely found to be the preferred choice in Japan and Thailand where the official name is Ma Po tofu (named after the woman who created the method.)

As the more complex, fancier style of making bean curd, it’s a little trickier to make but we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover what this type of tofu tastes like, how to cook it and how it’s best served.

  • Origin

Szechuan style bean curd is a method that arose out of the Sichuan Province of China where hot, spicy, pungent tastes are highly popular.

  • Flavor

With generous helpings of peppercorns, chili flakes, and ginger, Szechuan style bean curd is tongue-numbing hot and the best option for anyone who can’t get enough of spicy food.

  • Texture

Once properly prepared, Szechuan-style bean curd is a little thicker, slightly grainier, and more crumbly in a similar sense to a stew made with ground meat.

Some of the medium-firmness tofu will end up crumbly, adding to the texture of this dish.

  • Difficulty

It’ll take a little longer to prepare Ma Po or Szechuan style tofu, but the basic recipe is just as straightforward as home-style tofu.

  • Tofu Type

The ideal tofu for Szechuan-style bean curd is medium firm. Silken tofu is another option to consider if you prefer more of a stew, with much of the tofu crumbling and cooking into the thick sauce.

How To Make Szechuan Style Bean Curd

All traditional recipes for Szechuan-style bean curd use a basic selection of ingredients and a methodology similar to this easy-to-follow option. Give our recipe a try for the tastiest, traditional Szechuan tofu around.


  • One Large (16-Oz) Block Of Medium-Firm Tofu (Or Silken Tofu)
  • Half A Cup Of Oil
  • 3 To 4 Thai Bird’s Eye Chili’s
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sichuan Peppercorns, Powdered Or Ground
  • One Scallion, Thinly Sliced
  • One Inch Cube Of Garlic, Thinly Sliced
  • Six Cloves Of Garlic, Finely Minced
  • Two Tablespoons Of La Doubanjiang (Spicy Bean Sauce)
  • Three Cups Of Vegetable Stock (Or Chicken Stock)
  • Eight Ounces Of Ground Pork
  • Three Tablespoons Of Cornstarch
  • Two Tablespoons Of Water
  • One Teaspoon Of Sesame Oil


  1. Saute your chilies in a quarter cup of your cooking oil, frying for roughly five minutes.
  2. Remove from the pan or wok and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining cooking oil and toss your peppercorns into the pan, frying for thirty seconds to a minute.
  4. Add the ginger and the garlic and saute for another minute.
  5. Crank up the temperature and add your ground pork to the wok or pan, stirring constantly to break up the chunks of pork.
  6. Once thoroughly cooked, add the La Doubanjiang and mix well.
  7. Add two-thirds of your chicken or vegetable stir and allow the mix to simmer for two minutes.
  8. Combine your two tablespoons of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water, stir together until well mixed, and add this to the sauce in your pan or work.
  9. Add your blocks of tofu to the wok or pan.
  10. Stir constantly until your sauce starts thickening, taking care to work gently with the tofu.
  11. Add the chili and chili oil you made earlier and cook for another three to five minutes.
  12. Add the sesame oil, sliced scallions, and sugar, and continue to cook until the scallions start wilting.

In no time, you’ll have irresistible, spicy Szechuan style tofu ready to serve. Once again, steamed rice is the preferred accompaniment to this hot meal that’ll keep you coming back for more.

Which Is The Best Between Bean Curd Home Style Vs. Szechuan Style?

If we had to compare home-style bean curd vs. Szechuan style tofu it’s really hard to determine a winner. Both come with mouthwatering spicy flavors suited to both mild and hot food lovers alike.

However, if you want more of a burn, Szechuan-style bean curd will be your best bet. Don’t forget that the spiciness of both varieties can always be adjusted by adding extra chili or peppers.

We suggest that you try both types of bean curd so that you always know which variety you’re in the mood for when a craving for tofu hits

  • Save
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap