Mapo Tofu, or Mapo Doufu, is a traditional Sichuan dish. Ma means numb in Chinese. What produces numb? Sichuan peppercorns. Of course, you can adjust the amount of peppercorn if you don’t like the numbness. Mapo Tofu is such a flavorful dish! And it’s is very nutritious.
Tofu, made from soybeans, is considered as a very healthy food because it is low calorie but rich in iron and calcium. It has zero cholesterol and it’s a great source of protein.
In Asian countries, people eat a lot of tofu, cooked many different ways. There are basically three kinds of tofu: soft, medium, and hard. For Mapo Tofu, we use soft tofu. My family eats tofu at least once a week. When we go shopping in an Asian grocery store, we almost always grab one or two packs of tofu. In Asian grocery stores it’s easy to find fresh tofu because it’s such a popular item that they are constantly restocking it. And usually a pack of tofu costs less than a dollar in one of these stores.
Some of my friends didn’t like tofu until they tasted my tofu dishes. They used to think tofu was like cheese, but it’s not. Tofu itself doesn’t have much flavor except for the soybean flavor. When you cook it, you need to reduce the soybean flavor and add other ingredients to give tofu the flavor you want.
I hope you decide to try my recipe for Mapo Tofu! If so, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes.
- 30 Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tbsp. tapioca starch
- 1 pack of soft tofu (14 oz.)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 green onion
- salt to your taste
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ pound ground pork
- 2 tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tsp.dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. Lao Gan Ma spice bean paste
- a pinch of black pepper
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 1 tsp. Sesame Oil
- Prepare the ground Sichuan peppercorn: Put the peppercorns in a skillet. Turn the fire on low. Shake the skillet until you smell the fragrance (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from skillet and grind using a mortar and pestle.
- Grind until they look like this.
- Prepare water starch: put the tapioca starch in a small sauce bowl, add ¼ cup water, and stir.
- Cut the tofu into cubes.
- Mince the garlic cloves.
- Chop the green onion.
Put water in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt in the water. Put the tofu cubes gently in the water. Turn on the fire to medium. When it comes to a boil, turn down the fire to low and cook for 3 minutes.
Remove from the stove and drain the water. Put the tofu in a plate.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat the base. When the oil is hot, put in the ground pork and stir. When the pork turns white and is completely separated, add the minced garlic and stir. Then add Shaoxing rice wine, dark soy sauce, Lao Gan Ma spice bean paste, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Stir for 2 minutes until you smell the fragrance.
Add the chicken broth and stir. Fold the tofu in very gently, being careful not to break it up. After it comes to a gentle boil, turn down the fire to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
Stir the water starch. Slowly add the water starch with one hand, while gently shaking the skillet with the other hand.
Simmer for 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Add the chopped green onion. Turn off the fire and transfer the Mapo Tofu to a plate. Add the sesame oil on the top. Spread the ground Sichuan peppercorn on top.
This dish goes well with white or brown rice. Now you’re ready to enjoy your delicious Mapo Tofu!