Mapo Tofu is a classic dish hailing from the area of Sichuan in China. This amazing dish has soft and tender tofu pieces mixed in with ground pork while being seasoned with a bunch of spice. It’s a very flavorful dish that is incredibly easy to make. And in this mapo tofu recipe, we will show you how to make it as authentic as possible.
If you ever ask any Chinese person what the most popular food they know is, the answer would almost always be “Mapo Tofu”.
After all, Mapo Tofu / 麻婆豆腐 is an incredibly popular dish with many different variations of it existing.
However the original recipe is almost always the same as it is a really popular Sichuan dish that everybody seems to love.
When growing up, I use to always hate this dish because of how numbing and spicy this dish was. My mouth would always have a tingly feeling whenever I ate it and was always needing a glass of cold milk afterwards.
But as I grew older, I started to gain an appreciation for it because of just how amazing this dish really was.
I noticed the vast amounts of ingredients that goes into this dish as well as how it was prepared. It eventually became one of my go-to dishes whenever I went to a restaurant serving up Sichuan style foods.
And in this post, I’ll be showing you how to make this delicious dish in the most authentic way possible.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
What Is Mapo Tofu?
What is Mapo Tofu / 麻婆豆腐 you might ask?
Well Mapo Tofu is one of the most popular Chinese dishes in the world. It hails from the province of Sichuan in China and is a classic recipe many families love to make and eat.
The dish basically consists of a few main ingredients like tofu and ground pork. It is than enhanced with a bunch of flavor by using things like spicy bean paste, peppercorns, hot chili oil and a few other seasonings to make this dish something truly delicious to eat.
The dish is cooked together in a spicy sauce which brings out a beautiful red color to the dish.
The authentic version of this dish is actually very spicy and also numbing to the mouth, but I will also give you tips on how to make it less spicy as well.
This way when you make this dish, you and your entire family will be able to enjoy it with no problems at all.
What Kind Of Tofu To Choose?
As you know, there are a ton of different tofu varieties out there for you to choose from when making a dish.
For instance, you have soft, firm, hard and more for you to pick.
So which one is best to use when making this mapo tofu dish?
To be honest, there isn’t really a right answer to this question. You are able to use any kind of tofu you want to make this dish and it will turn out perfectly fine.
For instance, in my family, we love to use firm tofu because we just like the texture and feel of a harder type of tofu.
But most people do like to use a softer type of tofu. For which case you can use silken tofu.
Silken Tofu is a popular choice to use in Mapo Tofu because it is soft and delicate, and also absorbs the flavor really well.
Ingredients Used In This Dish
Mapo Tofu / 麻婆豆腐 uses quite a bit of ingredients to make, but the good thing is that most of the ingredients used are just spices and seasonings.
All of the ingredients can be commonly found in your local Asian supermarket.
The ingredients you’ll need are as followed:
- Ground Pork – 1/2 Pound
- Silken Tofu – 1 Pound
- Hot Chili Oil – 2 Teaspoon
- Ground Sichuan Peppercorn – 1/2 Tablespoon (Use less for less numbing effect)
- Spicy Bean Paste – 2 Tablespoon
- Ginger Slices – 1 Tablespoon
- Minced Garlic – 1 Tablespoon
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth – 2/3 Cup
- Cornstarch – 2 Tablespoon
- Water – 1/4 Cup
- Vegetable Oil – 1/4 Cup
- Chopped Green Onions – 2-3 Sticks
- Sugar – 1 teaspoon
- Sesame Oil – 1/2 Tablespoon
By the way, if you want to learn how to make your own hot chili oil to use in this recipe, you can click here to see my post about it.
How To Make Mapo Tofu
Making Mapo Tofu / 麻婆豆腐 is actually a really simple and easy process to do.
Once you have gathered the necessary ingredients, it’ll only take a few minutes before you can start to eat your delicious creation.
The process to make mapo tofu is as followed:
First grab a chopping board and place your block of tofu on it. Then you’ll want to cut it into small squares. The size of the tofu is dependent on how big you want your tofu pieces to be, but I would suggest about 1 inch blocks. Then set it aside.
Now it’s time to start cooking!
Grab your wok or pan and heat up some oil over medium high heat.
Once your oil is hot enough, you’ll want to put in your ground peppercorn, garlic and ginger.
Make sure to stir the ground pepercorn, ginger and garlic around to cook them thoroughly. This will bring out lots of flavor into the oil.
After about a minute or two, take your ground pork and put it inside the wok or pan to cook as well.
Make sure to break the ground pork up and stir constantly. You want to cook the ground pork thoroughly.
After your ground pork has cooked, its time to put in the spicy bean paste.
Adding the spicy bean paste will bring a lot of flavor into the dish and is actually the key ingredient to making mapo tofu.
Stir the mixture around for about 30 seconds or so, and then pour in your chicken broth.
Continue to stir the mixture around so that everything gets cooked evenly.
While your mixture is cooking, grab a small bowl and pour the water and cornstarch into it. Then mix it around until the cornstarch is completely mixed with the water.
Take that cornstarch mixture and pour it immediately into the wok or pan.
Keep stirring until the mixture starts to get thick from the cornstarch.
Once the mixture has thickened, you’ll want to pour in your hot chili oil.
Adding the hot chili oil will make the dish even more spicier. But it will also add a lot of flavor as well which is great.
Stir the mixture around for a few seconds.
After that, it is time to add in your tofu.
Pour in your tofu pieces directly into the mixture.
Make sure to stir it around and gently fold the tofu into the sauce.
Do not break the tofu when stirring it around.
To be honest, you can stop here as this will be enough to make your mapo tofu dish.
However we’ll take it a step further and add in some optional ingredients which will make the flavor taste so much better.
Add in your sesame oil into the mixture.
Add in your sugar into the mixture.
Now add in your chopped green onions for extra flavor and color to the dish.
Now just stir it for a few more seconds and you are done!
You have just made mapo tofu, congratulations!
Simply plate it up and serve immediately.
How To Store/Keep Mapo Tofu
Storing Mapo Tofu / 麻婆豆腐 is actually a really simple and easy thing to do.
Basically once you are ready to store it, put in in an air-tight container and store it in the fridge. It should keep well for around 3 to 4 days.
And if you want to re-heat it, simply put it back on the stove or wok and stir it around for 2 to 3 minutes and it should be just like new.
As for freezing, I wouldn’t recommend you to freeze this dish because the sauce mixture doesn’t really freeze that well.
But I doubt you’ll need to store it or keep it for later because as soon as you make this dish, it will be gone instantly from how good it is.
Authentic Mapo Tofu Recipe (麻婆豆腐)
- 1/2 Pound Ground Pork
- 1 Pound Silken Tofu
- 2 Teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
- 1/2 Tablespoon Ground Sichuan Peppercorn Use less for a less numbing effect
- 2 Tablespoon Spicy Bean Paste
- 1 Tablespoon Ginger Slice
- 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
- 2/3 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
- 2 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 to 3 Stalks Chopped Green Onion
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- Grab a chopping board and place your block of tofu on it. Then using a knife, cut the tofu into small blocks. Around 1 inch thick should be fine. Then set it aside.
- Grab a wok or pan and heat up some oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot enough, you'll want to put in your ground Sichuan peppercorns, ginger slices, and minced garlic. Stir it around and cook for a minute or two so that the oil can soak up all the flavor.
- Then add in your ground pork. Break it up using a spatula and mix it around until the ground porn gets cooked evenly.
- Add your spicy bean paste into the mixture and continue to stir it around. After a minute or two, add in your chicken broth to the wok or pan and continue to stir. Let the mixture simmer for about a minute.
- While the mixture is simmering, you want to go prepare your cornstarch and water mixture. So grab a small bowl and pour into it your water and cornstarch. Mix it around so that the cornstarch completely dissolves into the water. Then pour the cornstarch mixture into the wok or pan and stir.
- Once the mixture starts to get thick, you'll want to add in your hot chili oil. Then mix it around for a few seconds. After that, add in your blocks of tofu. Then fold and stir the tofu around with the mixture so that the tofu can soak in all the flavor. Make sure to not break the tofu into smaller pieces. Let it cook this way for about 5 minutes or so.
- After that, add in your sesame oil, sugar and chopped green onions to finish it off. Stir it around for a few more seconds and you are done. Turn off the heat and plate the mapo tofu. Serve immediately.