Mapo Tofu is a well-loved Szechuan classic dish with various renditions all around the world. Tender pieces of tofu absorb the delicious flavors of the spicy and aromatic sauce with ground pork. Enjoy with steamed rice.
Whenever I think of Szechuan cuisine, Mapo Tofu is always the first dish that comes to mind. The tender pieces of tofu take on the amazing flavors of the spicy aromatic sauce comprising of marinated ground pork and a spicy bean paste.
This is Chinese comfort food! The best part is that you can make it at home in just minutes! Be sure to prepare lots of steamed rice to sop up that yummy sauce.
Mapo Tofu can also easily be made into a vegetarian dish by substituting ground pork with minced shiitake mushrooms. If you’re looking for a unique spin on this dish, check out my Mapo Eggplant recipe!
Mapo Tofu is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Make Mapo Tofu
Let this pork mixture sit at room temperature as you prepare the rest of the ingredients (which should only take a few minutes).
Mix 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Stir well to break up all of the cornstarch clumps.
Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
When the wok starts to smoke a little (that’s how you know it’s hot enough), add the ground pork. When the pork is about half-way cooked, add 2 cloves of garlic (minced) and about 1/2 inch of ginger (finely julienned) to the wok.
Stir-fry until the ground pork is cooked all the way through.
If you’re using doubanjiang, be sure to chop the broad beans first before adding them to the wok. They will be too large otherwise. If you’re using chili black bean paste and it’s not spicy enough for your taste, add 1 tablespoon of Szechuan chili oil and some ground Szechuan peppercorns.
Stir in 1/2 a cup of water.
Then 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Push the ground pork towards the side of the wok, then add 1 large block of firm tofu (cut into large cubes) into the sauce in the wok. Reduce the heat to low.
Let it simmer for about 2 minutes to allow the tofu to marinate in the yummy sauce. Stir occasionally so that all of the tofu is covered in the sauce, but gently so that you don’t break up the delicate tofu pieces.
Turn up the heat to bring the sauce to a boil. Give your cornstarch mixture a stir, then pour in into the sauce.
In just a few seconds, you will see the sauce start to thicken.
Transfer the Mapo Tofu to a serving dish.
Top with fresh chopped scallions and if you wish, freshly ground Szechuan peppercorns.
Serve immediately with steamed rice.
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 dashes ground white pepper
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water divided
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 inch ginger finely julienned
- 3 tablespoons chili black bean paste or doubanjiang
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 block tofu firm, cut into large cubes
- ground Szechuan peppercorns
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions garnish
- Marinate ground pork with sesame oil, soy sauce and white pepper. Let it sit at room temperature for just a few minutes as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. Stir well to break up the clumps.
- Heat cooking oil in a wok over medium-high heat.
- When the wok starts to smoke a little, add the ground pork. When the pork is about half-way cooked, add garlic and ginger.
- Stir-fry until the pork is cooked all the way through.
- Add chili black bean paste and sugar.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of water.
- Push the ground pork towards the side of the wok, and add the tofu to the wok. Reduce the heat to low.
- Let it simmer for about 2 mins. Stir occasionally and gently.
- Turn up the heat to high to bring the sauce to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture.
- Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped scallions and ground Szechuan peppercorns.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice. Enjoy!