Mapo Tofu

By Ivan Hawkes
November 19, 2021

A classic Sichuan dish made with beef or pork, tofu and chillis.


Quantity Measure Ingredient
450 grams soft tofu
120 grams minced meat (beef or pork)
400 ml water
2 tbs doubanjiang, roughly chopped
1/2 tbs fermented black beans (dou-chi)
1 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs shaoxing wine
1 tbs chilli flakes
1 tbs Sichuan pepper (ground)
3 tbs cooking oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 whole scallions whites (finely chopped)
4 whole garlic greens or scallion greens (finely chopped)
2 whole garlic cloves (finely chopped)
2.5 cm ginger (finely chopped)
1 tbs corn flour


  • Cut tofu into square cubes (around 2cms). Bring a large amount of water to a boil and then add a pinch of salt. Slide the tofu in and cook for 1 minute. Move out and drain.

  • Get a wok and heat up around 2 tablespoons of oil, fry the minced meat until crispy. Transfer out beef out and leave the oil in. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil.

  • Add another tablespoon of vegetable cooking oil and fry doubanjiang for 1 minute over slow heat until it turns red and then add fermented black beans, garlic, scallion white, and ginger to cook for 30 seconds until aromatic.

  • Optionally mix in the pepper flakes.

  • Pour in the water or stock. Add light soy sauce, sugar and half of the cooked beef (to improve the stock flavour) after the broth boils. Let it continue simmering for 2-3 minutes.

  • Place the tofu in, simmer for another 6-8 minutes. The simmering helps the tofu to absorb the flavors.

  • During the process of simmering, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2.5 tablespoons of water. Add slowly to the dish while continuing to stir.

  • Taste to see if it requires seasoning.

  • Add the cooked beef. This ensures some of the beef remains crispy in texture

  • Drizzle sesame oil. Mix well.

  • Sprinkle Szechuan peppercorn powder and chopped garlic greens if using.

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