I hadn’t made spicy mapo tofu in a while so when I made it again (with a few tweaks), it really got me hooked all over again. When I was a young graduate living in Melbourne, I would walk home from my office on Collins Street to my apartment in North Melbourne. It was a journey that took about half an hour and I would pass by several restaurants along the way. There was a Chinese restaurant near the corner of Elizabeth Street and Queensberry Street that served mapo tofu that I used to take away for my dinner. I remember it was one of the cheapest dishes on their menu at circa $10. The restaurant, unfortunately, is now long gone but the memories of mapo tofu after work makes me nostalgic. Although it’s a spicy dish, it’s nowhere near as spicy as other Sichuan dishes. Feel free to dial the heat up or down depending on your tolerance level.
In terms of tofu, you can use both the firm or soft kinds. However, I find the firm tofu yields the best and ‘cleanest’ result. The soft tofu disintegrates much too easily, in my opinion.
Serves 4 (as a side), approx. 270 calories per serve
Prep time 15 mins
Cook time 20 mins
2 tbsp neutral oil
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
100g minced pork
1 1/2 tbsp Doubanjiang
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 cm piece ginger, minced
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 spring onion, sliced
450g firm tofu, 2cm cubes
300ml vegetable stock
2 1/2 tsp chilli oil (or heat up 1/2 tsp chilli powder with the oil until well mixed)
1 tsp Chinese rice wine
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
3/4 tsp sesame oil
There are two ways you can toast the Sichuan peppercorn. I like dry roasting them but if you want slightly more of the falvour to infuse the dish, you can fry it in oil first and set aside.
Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and add the minced pork, doubanjiang, garlic, ginger, chilli flakes and half the spring onion and cook over a medium heat until cooked.
Add the tofu, vegetable stock, chilli oil, Chinese rice wine, light soy sauce, salt and sugar and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Make a cornstarch slurry by adding the cornstarch and water. The add this to the pan and cook for a few more minutes until thickened.
Garnish with the reserved fried Sichuan peppercorns, remaining spring onion and sesame oil. Serve immediately with rice.
Step by Step Video
More Tofu Recipes
- Crispy baked tofu
- Fried egg tofu with pork
- Kimchi stew with spam and tofu
- Hot and sour soup
- Quick tofu stir fry with bean sprouts