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Spicy Mapo Tofu

What is Mapo Tofu? Mapo Tofu is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan Province, where spicy food is king!

The Sichuan Peppercorns gives this dish fragrance and flavour, but also numbs your tongue!

Mapo Tofu in a bowl with rice

Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu is certainly hot and spicy but it is totally delicious and easy to make at home.

There are so many different recipes for Mapo Tofu, each one varying on the number of peppercorns used and some using chilli powder and spicy bean paste.

Some recipes I've seen use only chilli powder which is never normal. So, after studying several different recipes and putting bits from each one together this is what I came up with.

What is Tofu and is Tofu Vegan?

Tofu is a soy product that is rich in protein and is loved by vegans and vegetarians around the world.

What does Tofu taste like?

Until tofu is seasoned, it tastes very bland and (in my opinion) most certainly need spices to liven it up!

Where does Mapo Tofu Originate?

The origin of mapo tofu can be traced to 1862 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and to a couple surnamed Chen, who ran Chen Xingsheng Restaurant, a small eatery near Wanfu Bridge in north Chengdu. Source: China Daily

Whether my recipe is right or wrong, it tastes amazing and I make it often, it's one of those things you just want to keep eating; even when you've only just finished.

You will need Szechuan peppercorns and a tub of Gochujang.

What is the difference between Doubanjiang and Gochujang?

Doubanjiang is a spicy, salty paste made from fermented broad beans, soybeans, salt, rice, and various spices.

Gochujang does not contain any beans and is sweeter rather than salty.

Now, I didn't have such a thing in my cupboard. But I did have a nice tub of Gochujang, which is similar as in it's a very spicy bean paste used in Korean cuisine and so I used that instead.

As doubanjiang is quite salty so if you do use it instead of Gochujang then you certainly won't want to add any salt to this recipe.

How to make Mapo Vegan

Just replace the pork with finely chopped shiitake mushrooms.

Mapo Tofu Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

300g block silken tofu
350g low fat pork mince
1 tablespoon groundnut oil (peanut oil)
1 tablespoon chilli oil
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
fresh ginger - peeled and finely chopped to make 1 tablespoon
2 heaped tablespoons spicy bean paste (Gochujang)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns - toasted then ground to powder *don't burn them or they'll taste bitter
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
1 teaspoon fermented black beans - rinsed and finely chopped
100ml water
4 spring onions - sliced

How to Make Mapo Tofu

Prepare all the ingredients as above and drain the water from the tofu and cut into small cubes then set aside.

When you're ready to cook, heat up your wok and pour in the groundnut and chilli oil.

Add the pork, chopped garlic, ginger, and spicy bean paste and sugar then stir-fry until the pork is just half cooked.

Now add the toasted and ground Szechuan peppercorns, soy sauce, Shaoxing, and fermented black beans and stir-fry for a minute or so.

Carefully tip in the tofu and the water and stir very gently to mix the tofu into the sauce being careful not to break the cubes.

Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 to 5 mins or until the sauce thickens up a bit.

Now add in the sliced spring onions and give it a quick stir.

Have a taste and add a small pinch of salt - although I really don't think you really need to.

Stir again carefully because of the tofu and serve straight away with rice.

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe card below!

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Chinese
Yield: 2
Author: Jan Bennett
Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu is a deliciously hot and spicy dish; if you like spice you will love this.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 8 MinTotal time: 18 Min

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon groundnut oil (peanut oil)
  • 1 tablespoon chilli oil
  • 300g block silken tofu
  • 100ml water
  • 4 spring onions - sliced
In a medium-sized bowl, prepare these
  • 350g low fat pork mince
  • 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • fresh ginger - peeled and finely chopped to make 1 tablespoon
  • 2 heaped tablespoons spicy bean paste (Gochujang)
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
In a small bowl, add these
  • 2 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns - toasted then ground to powder *don't burn them or they'll taste bitter
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon fermented black beans - rinsed and finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Prepare all the ingredients as above and drain the water from the tofu and cut into small cubes then set aside.
  2. When you're ready to cook, heat up your wok and pour in the groundnut and chilli oil.
  3. Add the pork, chopped garlic, ginger, and spicy bean paste and sugar then stir-fry until the pork is just half cooked.
  4. Now add the toasted and ground Szechuan peppercorns, soy sauce, Shaohsing, and fermented black beans and stir-fry for a minute or so.
  5. Carefully tip in the tofu and the water and stir very gently to mix the tofu into the sauce being careful not to break the cubes.
  6. Lower the heat and simmer for about 3 to 5 mins or until the sauce thickens up a bit.
  7. Now add in the sliced spring onions and give it a quick stir.
  8. Have a taste and add a small pinch of salt - although I really don't think you really need to.
  9. Stir again carefully because of the tofu and serve straight away with rice.
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Jan