Nov 19, 2008

Classic Chinese Dish - Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐

I was surprised that after more than one year of writing this blog,
There is no single recipe about mapo tofu!
What a shame for me (well, cz I eat like at least twice a month),
So here you go,
Cindy's homemade mapo tofu!-


1 box of organic soft tofu (or silken)
1 lb of ground pork
2 stalks of scallion (chopped)
5 garlic cloves (minced)
1 teaspoon of grounded Sichuan peppercorn
(I used 2 teaspoons cz I love that numbness sensation when it touches my tongue)
1 tablespoon of chili paste (any kind of Chinese chili paste will do)
3 tablespoons of spicy bean paste 豆瓣醬
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
Some freshly grounded black pepper
Corn starch
Olive oil


Drizzle some olive oil in the pan, toss in about 3/4 of the chopped scallion,
Let it cook for a little bit, about 20 seconds, toss in the Sichuan peppercorn and garlic.

Careful don't let the garlic get burned,
Before the tragedy happens, let's add the spicy bean paste, chili sauce, and soy sauce.
Give it a quick stir then toss in the meat.
Stir it once a while and let it cook till at least 2/3 of the sauce is absorbed by the pork.

Meanwhile, take the tofu out and cut into 1 cm cubes,
Sometimes I get lazy then I'll just cut them during the cooking process,
Kind of fun to break them apart with my spatula!

Transfer the cubed tofu (if you decided not to perform the spatula massacre) into the mixture,
Add hot water till all the ingredients are submerged under the liquid.
Bring to a boil then turn to medium/low heat.

Have a small bowl ready, pour some corn starch in it.
Add some water, I only added about 3 tablespoons of water for lots of corn starch.
Mix it well so no lumps are present.

Slowly pour the corn starch mixture into your almost finished mapo tofu,
Keep stirring there,
If you get lazy and stop stirring, you gonna get mapo tofu lumps for dinner!

Everything looks good now,
Sprinkle some black pepper and chopped scallion before serving.
Some people also add some sesame oil, I'm not a big fan of that though.

Cindy's Rating: 7


  1. This is one of my favorite dishes, too! Yummy!!


  2. To Tigerfish~
    Yeah, it's good with almost everything!
    Rice and ramen especially! Love it!

    To Ivan~
    I even made it "organic version."
    Almost all the ingredients are organic!

  3. My all time favorite too! Hmmm...or the Indonesian version, mun tahu ^_^

    Too bad I am off tofu these two months...arrgghhh

  4. To Mochachocolata Rita~
    Off tofu for two months?
    Well, I'll eat up lots of tofu for you here during these two months!

  5. Just made this! I had to substitute some stuff (didn't have szechaun pepper), but it came out awesome!

  6. To Ron~
    Thank you so much!
    I'm so happy that you like the recipe!!

  7. Where did you get the szechaun pepper? I went to the irvine 99 but they didn't have it, or rather, I couldn't find it. I asked an employee but he didn't know either (hua jiao?).

  8. To Ron~
    Hey, yeah it is called hua jiao,
    It should be around the spice aisle.
    if not, I'm sure you can find it at Mistuwa in Costa Mesa.
    I got mine there!
    It's in a clear plastic package!
    Let me know if you still can't find it!

  9. I found it! How do you separate the black seeds from the husk? I found if I just ground it all, the black seeds would turn into a crunchy, sand-like texture in the soup...

  10. To Ron~
    Black seeds? You mean the peppercorn?? Or??

  11. Yeah, the sichaun pepper corn. The little black....thingies lol. I'm not sure what to call it.

    Ok yeah just looked it up. Thank goodness for wiki.

    So yeah, exactly what that paragraph says, those black peppercorns I guess. I've seen them floating around whole in sichuan restaurants. My problem is I couldn't get them to separate nicely like in that picture, and if I ground everything, the peppercorns have a sandy texture in the food. So I'm wondering what you do. Thanks for the fast response btw!

  12. To Ron~
    Oh I get it now,
    Usually I grind it first,
    During the first few steps, I drizzle some oil in the pan, add in the garlic and scallion right? You can add the peppercorn at the same time too, just cook till the aroma comes out and before the garlic gets burned.

    I never taste the sandy texture in my mapo tofu tho, unless I didn't grind it well, I think the initial cooking step helps in "breaking" down the peppercorn so you won't really have that sandy texture in the final dish.

    Wish it helps!!

    PS. Or you can skip the peppercorn but you won't really get that tinkling feeling later on. Just substitute it with chili oil, it adds some flavor too!

  13. Hmm alright I'll try that! I want to keep them cuz I love the unique flavor it has. I actually double or triple the amount you call for haha. I'm already starting to salivate thinking about this.

    Ok thanks again!