Print Options:

How to Make Authentic Mapo Tofu

According to legend, in the first year of the Qing Dynasty's Tongzhi era(1861-1875 AD) in China, there was a female chef who was exceptionally beautiful, with a complexion like a hibiscus flower and eyebrows like willow leaves. However, she had a few freckles on her face, and people referred to her as "Ma Po." One day, near closing time, a group of people arrived at the restaurant. They expressed their desire for something that goes well with rice, is hearty, and reasonably priced. But the kitchen had almost run out of ingredients; there were only a few plates of tofu and a small amount of minced beef left. Going out to buy more was definitely not an option at this point. So, she came up with a clever solution, adding doubanjiang and douchi to stir-fry a pot of delicious and spicy tofu. Each person in the group was sweating from the heat and spice, and they added several bowls of rice to their meal. Then, as word spread, this tofu became famous and Mapo Tofu was born.

Cooking Method
Courses , ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 15 min Total Time: 30 mins
Servings 2

This dish is rich in animal and plant proteins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins, and carbohydrates. It is known for its benefits in warming the stomach, replenishing energy, nourishing bodily fluids, detoxifying, and enhancing vitality by supplementing essence and marrow.

  • 400 grams tofu
  • 30 grams doubanjiang
  • 5 grams dark soy sauce
  • 15 grams light soy sauce
  • 30 grams minced meat
  • 50 milliliters clean water
  • 5 grams sugar
  • 15 milliliters vegetable oil
  • chopped green onion or garlic sprouts (according to personal taste)
  • sichuan peppercorn powder (according to personal taste)
  • Cornstarch Slurry
  • 10 grams cornstarch
  • 10 grams clean water
Mapo Tofu
  1. To make a slurry, start with 1 to 1 ratio of cornstarch to water. For example, prepare 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoons of water. Then whisk together really well.
  2. Cut the tofu into chunks, pour hot water into the wok. Blanch the tofu cubes, and then soak them in cold water.

  3. Pour vegetable oil into the wok, heat the oil until it reaches medium-high hot. Then add chopped green onions and minced meat. After that, stir-fry the minced meat until crispy, push it to the side of the wok. Add doubanjiang and stir-fry until red oil emerges.

  4. Add sugar, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Stir-fry briefly. Then pour in the drained tofu and 50ml of water. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, then drizzle in the cornstarch slurry to thicken.

  5. Sprinkle Sichuan peppercorn powder and chopped green onions on top of the tofu, then drizzle a spoonful of hot oil.

  1. It's best to use soft tofu; you can use silken tofu instead.
  2. Adding salt when blanching tofu can effectively remove the extra beany taste from the tofu.
  3. For a more appealing color, you can add a bit more doubanjiang; creating red oil is the key. Be sure to keep stirring over low heat, and do not stir fry for too long to avoid burnt.
  4. Doubanjiang, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce all contribute salty flavors, so there's no need to add extra salt separately. For those who prefer a stronger taste, you can add a moderate amount of salt if it's not salty enough to adjust the seasoning.
  5. Minced meat can be made with either pork or beef, depending on personal preference. For vegetarians, minced meat can be omitted.
  6. Chopped green onions can also be replaced with garlic chives.
  7. Add the water in three separate portions to make a slurry; this helps to thicken the starchy sauce more effectively.
Keywords: Sichuan Cuisine, Spicy and Savory, Tofu