Mapo Tofu

I’m hooked on the magical mixture of silky tender tofu and saucy spicy pork. In the event you’re within the know, you realize what I’m speaking about: mapo tofu.

What’s mapo tofu?

Mapo tofu is a well-known Sichuan tofu dish that has loads of mala, the signature numbing spiciness of fine Sichuan meals. In the event you haven’t had Sichuan meals earlier than, you may be fearful of it’s fire-y purple coloration, however when you get previous that worry of warmth, you’ll be coming again for extra, extra, extra.


The nice numbing spice of mapo tofu comes from Sichuan peppercorns, which have a pleasing numbing impact which makes it so you may eat increasingly spice till you understand that you simply’re fully spiced out. It’s referred to as “málà” in Chinese language and is prized in Sichuan cooking. Málà actually means numbing (ma 麻) sizzling/spicy (la 辣). Spicy sizzling fiends love Sichuan peppercorns as a result of they’re aromatic and have a selected taste. Warning: Sichuan peppercorns are very spicy. You probably have prime quality or recent peppercorns, the extra numbing and highly effective. On this recipe, we’re not going to prepare dinner the peppercorns as a result of they generally tend to recover from toasted for those who’re not cautious and might result in bitterness. As an alternative, you’ll end your dish off with a beneficiant sprinkling, which is ideal for adjusting spice ranges proper on the desk.

In the event you love tofu and you’re keen on spicy, you’re going to like mapo tofu too. And, for those who’re not so massive on spicy, the advantage of this dish is that you may alter the spiciness degree by altering how massive of a pinch of Sichuan pepper you end it with.

In the event you’re not acquainted with it, right here’s a fast breakdown: mapo tofu is a brilliant standard Chinese language dish from the Sichuan province. It has tender tofu in a spicy brilliant purple sauce with a little bit of floor pork. The identify of the dish roughly interprets to “pockmarked grandma’s tofu,” form of like outdated grandma’s tofu. There are many mapo tofus on the market however this can be a conventional, genuine mapo tofu recipe.

mapo tofu |

mapo tofu |

What does mapo tofu style like?

Mapo tofu tastes spicy: each conventionally spicy with warmth in your tongue, and málà, a numbing form of spicy that’s attribute of Sichuan meals. The sauce is pleasingly oily, which ampliflies the spiciness and taste. It additionally has a deeply savoriness to it due to the umami from the doubanjiang. Additionally secret’s the feel play mapo tofu has happening: the silky creaminess from the tender tofu coats your tongue and the crispy-ish bits of pork add a lovely distinction to the general softness and sauciness of the dish. Mapo tofu is soul meals and possibly the most effective consolation meals on the market, particularly when paired with perfectly fluffy rice.

Key Elements

There are two key elements to this tofu: chili bean paste (doubanjiang) and Sichuan peppercorns. Yow will discover each of them at your native Asian grocery retailer. The opposite elements are fairly customary fare.

  • Doubanjiang. Typically, with genuine recipes, there’s that one ingredient that you need to search far and vast for. You’ll be looking the aisles questioning, is that this value it? I’m right here to inform you that it’s! Doubanjiang is a spicy fermented mixture of soy and broad beans. It’s been referred to as the soul of Sichuan cooking and it’s what’s going to give your mapo tofu that superb purple hue. When purchasing, you wish to search for the Pixian (an space in China) selection for those who can. It’s form of like how, for those who can, you wish to purchase champagne from the Champagne area in France. However, like champagne, for those who can solely discover glowing wine, don’t sweat it, Lee Kum Kee additionally sells a serviceable simpler to search out Cantonese type doubanjiang that they name chili bean sauce/toban djan. More about doubanjiang here!
  • Sichuan peppercorns. With reference to Sichuan peppercorns, you should purchase pre-ground Sichuan peppercorn powder, but when they’re accessible, go for complete Sichuan peppercorns and toast and grind them your self. The spice might be way more recent and obvious for those who do.
  • Tender tofu. Tender tofu is vital to genuine mapo tofu. The tofu must be clean, creamy, and tender.
  • Floor pork. There’s only a little bit of floor pork on this dish, simply sufficient to go with the tofu.
  • Ginger and garlic. Ginger and garlic add a punch of aromatics.
  • Rooster inventory. Rooster inventory is what makes up the majority of the sauce.
  • Cornstarch. We’ll use cornstarch as a thickener to make the sauce silky and clean.
  • Soy sauce. Only a contact of soy for some further umami.

mapo tofu recipe | i am a food blog

mapo tofu recipe | i am a food blog

On tofu

I’ve to say, essentially the most often requested questions on mapo tofu are of the next selection: What sort of tofu for mapo tofu? Can you employ agency tofu in mapo tofu? It looks like everybody must know: which tofu is it! A number of recipes on the market say you should utilize agency or medium tofu and naturally, you may, however for those who’re going for an genuine mapo tofu, go for tender tofu. The tofu must be clean and jiggly and virtually break aside the second your chopsticks contact them. I believe a number of recipes suggest agency or medium agency tofu as a result of tender tofu is notoriously tough to work with. However I consider in you. Do the tender tofu. It’s value it!

Professional tip: to assist your tofu keep collectively if you toss it into the sauce, blanch it. To blanch tofu: merely place in simply simmered salted water for a few minutes and let it sit. Blanching tofu in salted water will season it and assist agency it up. The tofu will develop into much more creamy and supple whereas retaining its form if you combine it into the mapo sauce. It additionally has the bonus of constructing the tofu heat so that you simply don’t need to warmth it up as a lot within the sauce.

mapo tofu recipe | i am a food blog

mapo tofu recipe | i am a food blog

How one can make mapo tofu?

After you have your elements in hand, it’s a reasonably easy recipe. You begin off by blanching your tofu in salty water. Then, it’s only a query of frying the pork and doubanjiang, including some rooster inventory and thickening it up. Frying the doubanjiang and releasing the oils is what makes every part tremendous tasty and aromatic. The sauce will get a little bit of thickening up with cornstarch and every part is shiny and golden and clings completely to your tofu cubes. It’s a match made in heaven for fluffy rice.

  1. Blanch the tofu. Gently simmer the tofu over low warmth in salted water, then take away the pot from the warmth and let it hand around in its salty bathtub.
  2. Fry. Brown the pork so it crisps up a bit then add the doubanjiang and fry it in order that the warmth releases its spicy purple oils. Stir within the garlic and ginger.
  3. Sauce. Add the rooster inventory and soy sauce and convey every part as much as a bubble. Add the drained tofu cubes and stir in a cornstarch slurry. Simmer till the sauce is thick and gloss then you definitely’re prepared!

making mapo sauce |

making mapo sauce |

Can mapo tofu be vegetarian/vegan?

Vegan mapo tofu: You may skip out on the bottom pork and it is going to be vegan. You probably have some dried shiitake mushrooms available, soak them, drain them, chop them up and provides them a fry instead of the pork. Swap the rooster inventory out for vegetable inventory.

What do you eat mapo tofu with?

Historically mapo tofu is served with fluffy rice. You may also have mapo tofu with noodles (or zoodles), bread, you identify it. Basically it goes with any carb. We’ve even made mapo tofu pizza and mapo tofu poutine. And naturally, it goes great with wonton.

mapo tofu recipe | i am a food blog

Tastes good on zoodles too!

Continuously requested questions

  • Can I make this vegan/vegetarian?
    Simply! Simply substitute in finely diced mushrooms for the bottom pork. The bottom pork isn’t actually the star of the present, so utilizing rehydrated shiitakes and even button mushrooms works at including umami.
  • Substitutes for doubanjiang
    To be trustworthy, for those who’re trying to make an genuine mapo tofu you may’t skip out on the doubanjiang. In the event you don’t wish to order doubanjiang on-line (purchase this model: Pixian broad bean paste)
  • Substitutes for Sichuan peppercorns
    There aren’t any substitutes for the málà of Sichuan peppercorns. In the event you’re spice antagonistic, you may undoubtedly go away them out. Between doubanjiang and Sichuan peppercorns, doubanjiang is infinitely extra needed.
  • Substitutes for floor pork
    If you wish to use one other floor meat, that’s completely alright. Floor rooster or turkey and even floor beef (be sure to make use of a barely fattier share) will all work.
  • How do I make mapo tofu not spicy?
    Cut back the quantity of doubanjiang to 1/2 tbsp and miss the Sichuan peppercorns.
mapo tofu recipe | i am a food blog

Mapo Tofu

You may be fearful of it’s fire-y purple coloration, however when you get previous that worry of warmth, you’ll be coming again for extra, extra, extra.

Serves 4

4.84 from 6 votes

Prep Time 20 minutes

Prepare dinner Time 10 minutes

Whole Time 30 minutes

  • 14 oz tender tofu 1 block
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 lb floor pork
  • 1.5 tbsp doubanjiang chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp ginger grated or finely chopped
  • 1 cup rooster inventory sodium free/unsalted most popular
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch whisked into 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp floor sichuan pepper or to style
  • inexperienced onions thinly sliced, to complete

Vitamin Details

Mapo Tofu

Quantity Per Serving

Energy 150
Energy from Fats 74

% Every day Worth*

Fats 8.2g13%

Saturated Fats 1.3g8%

Ldl cholesterol 22mg7%

Sodium 716mg31%

Potassium 257mg7%

Carbohydrates 5.6g2%

Fiber 0.3g1%

Sugar 1.9g2%

Protein 14.5g29%

* P.c Every day Values are primarily based on a 2000 calorie food plan.


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