Chinese Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu, a beloved Sichuan dish, is a symphony of bold flavors and fiery spices that tantalize the taste buds. Originating from China’s southwestern province of Sichuan, this iconic dish has garnered a worldwide following for its irresistible combination of soft tofu, savory minced meat, and a mouth-numbing spicy sauce.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the origins of Mapo Tofu and provide you with an authentic recipe to recreate this culinary masterpiece in your own kitchen.

Mapo Tofu
Photo by Hannizhong from Getty Images

Ingredients:

To make authentic Chinese Mapo Tofu, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 block (14 ounces) of soft tofu, cut into cubes
  • 150 grams of ground pork or beef
  • 2 tablespoons of chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fermented black beans, rinsed and minced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water (optional, for thickening)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and white parts of the green onions. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the ground pork or beef to the wok and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.
  3. Stir in the chili bean paste and fermented black beans (if using) and cook for another minute.
  4. Add the tofu cubes to the wok, gently stirring to combine with the meat and sauce.
  5. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  6. Stir in the soy sauce, sugar, and ground Sichuan peppercorns. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. If you prefer a thicker sauce, stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  8. Garnish the Mapo Tofu with the green parts of the chopped green onions before serving.
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Mapo Tofu is a dish that captures the essence of Sichuan cuisine with its bold flavors and fiery spices. By following this authentic recipe, you can experience the rich culinary heritage of China in the comfort of your own home.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, Mapo Tofu is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving more. So gather your ingredients and get ready to embark on a flavorful journey to the heart of Sichuan province!