Mapo tofu is one of my favourite go to dishes especially in winter. This dish originates from the Sichuan Province and has a unique numbing spice flavour to it.
Here is one of our favourite recipes for this dish from Woks of Life:
- ½ cup oil (divided)
- 1-2 fresh Thai bird chili peppers (thinly sliced)
- 6-8 dried red chilies (roughly chopped)
- 1 tbsp Home Bao Szechuan Chili Oil
- 3 tablespoons ginger (finely minced)
- 3 tablespoons garlic (finely minced)
- 225g ground pork for a vegan version you can substitute with finely chopped Shiitake mushrooms (110g)
- 1-2 tablespoons spicy bean sauce
- 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth (or water)
- 1 pound silken tofu (450g, cut into 1 inch cubes)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1 spring onion (finely chopped for garnish)
- First, we toast the chilies. Heat your wok or a small saucepan over low heat. Add ¼ cup of the oil and throw in the fresh and dried peppers. Stir occasionally and heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes, ensuring that the peppers don’t burn. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the remaining ¼ cup of oil in your wok over medium heat. Add your ground Sichuan chilli oil and stir occasionally for 30 seconds. Add the ginger. After 1 minute, add the garlic. Fry for another minute, and then turn up the heat to high and add the ground pork. Break up the meat and fry it until it’s cooked through. For the Vegan version, turn up the heat to medium, and add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are cooked down and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spicy bean sauce to the mixture and stir it in well. Add ⅔ cups of chicken broth to the wok and stir. Let this simmer for a minute or so. While that’s happening, ready your tofu and also put a ¼ cup of water (use cold or room temperature water) in a small bowl with your cornstarch and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add the cornstarch mixture to your sauce and stir. Let it bubble away until the sauce starts to thicken. (If it gets too thick, splash in a little more water or chicken stock.)
- Then add your chilli oil from before—peppers and all! Stir the oil into the sauce, and add the tofu. Use your spatula to gently toss the tofu in the sauce. Let everything cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the sesame oil and sugar (if using) along with the scallions and stir until the scallions are just wilted.
- Serve with a sprinkle of chopped spring onion
Believe me once you’ve tried this recipe theres no going back. Best served with some Chinese vegetables and over a bowl of steaming white rice.
If you do try this recipe out please share your pictures and let us know how it goes!