This Authentic Mapo Tofu recipe is amazing. Strong flavors, silky textures, all on top of a wonderful rice. You can't ask for more out of an Asian dish.
Song of the day: "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.
Sichuan all the way, Authentic Mapo Tofu Recipe!
This dish is eloquently Sichuan, with its hot and robust flavors. I toned down the heat a bit so Nicoletta could enjoy it too, and it was lovely from the black bean, to the red chili paste. Further more the tofu had this lovely soft succulent texture, along with the freshness and sweetness of the scallions which helped soothe the spice a touch. Like spicy Asian food, then this is a dish for you to try!
This months destination China! Yessssss!
Another month has passed and yet another adventure starts. This month with our friends from Eat the World we stopped in China. Nicoletta can tell you I was really exited maybe even ecstatic. Asian cuisine is a total favorite to cook. The only problem was what dish to decide on? No shortage of cook books for Chinese cuisine, however, after 2 or even three Nicoletta helped me settle in one called "Phoenix Claws and Jade trees" by Kian Lam Kho. Just the title alone has me. Reminds me of those martial arts movies that you cannot get me away from. Anyway I really fell in love with this Authentic Mapo Tofu Recipe! The rest is history, One that I am going to share with you in our kitchen!
Ingredients for Authentic Mapo Tofu Recipe:
Although it is called Mapo tofu, it is not a vegetarian dish, there is ground beef in it. A wonderful way to build flavor and diverse texture. The ingredients are grouped as follows:
- The Proteins
- Chili bean paste oil
- The sauce
I did have a few substitutes from the original recipe, because I could not find all the ingredients. In the recipe it calls for Sichuan chili bean paste, similarly I mixed black bean paste with red chili paste. Instead of the red chili powder, I substituted red chili flakes. This would keep the heat level on the medium side.
The stages of making Authentic Mapo Tofu
The first thing you need to do is cook the tofu. This is done by simmering it in a saucepan with the tofu covered in the liquid. I used a light vegetable broth to do this just to bump the flavor a bit!
Secondly, in a hot wok we drizzle in the vegetable oil and toss in the ground beef and sauté till golden. We take that out of the wok leaving the oil and juices keeping the wok at a medium heat. Now time to make the bean paste oil. In goes the oil, to which I added a smidge of sesame oil. Now toss in the minced scallions, whites only reserve the greens for garnishing, and also the fresh minced ginger. Stir fry this for a few minutes then in goes out red chili flakes, peppercorn powder, again stir frying to create this thick slurry of spice, which will start to have a nice color.
Lastly, in goes the black bean chili paste and the fermented black beans which have bean chopped. A few seconds of stirring and the paste is done.
Time for the tofu!
With our lovely spicy paste waiting in the wok, it is time to unite it with our tofu that has been simmering in the stock. Drain the tofu and place it gently in the wok with the paste and toss. Add back the beautiful golden ground beef and toss gently again. At this time pour all the sauce ingredients minus the tapioca starch into a ramekin. Mix it well then pour it into the wok with the tofu. Gently move the sauce in the wok, then cover and let simmer over medium heat until the tofu has been infused with all that loveliness.
Thickening the sauce and finishing this Authentic Mapo Tofu Recipe!
The dish is almost ready. The last step is to thicken the sauce by mixing tapioca starch with water creating a nice slurry. Then pour it into the center of the wok where there is a lot of sauce. Stir well and when the sauce thickens, take off heat. I usually pour a little at a time to see the density or thickness I want, it saves the sauce from becoming too thick and pasty! Finally those scallion greens we set aside can be cut in diagonals and sprinkled on top. The aroma is killing me, I am so hungry!
Nothing like a little spice on top of rice!
I served the Mapo tofu with some steamed fancy rice. It was the perfect pallet to accentuate the colors of this dish. Plus it soothes the heat and that starchiness is lovely to sponge up the wonderful sauce. Moreover, the nuttiness of the rice is a great compliment to the fermented, spicy, tangy earthiness of the sauce. All in all, I love this dish. Its flavors played beautifully on my palate and it was so fulfilling to eat it. I know for most of us we always hear that voice that asks, "what are we going to make for dinner?" Well, I say, make it Chinese night and whip up this marvelous Authentic Mapo Tofu Recipe!
Check out all the wonderful Chinese dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
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- 220 g firm or extra firm tofu, cut in 1 ½ inch cubes
- 110 g lean ground beef
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cups light vegetable stock
For the bean paste oil:
- 1 Tbsp green onion chopped whites only (reserve the greens for garnish)
- ½ Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- ½ Tbsp red chili flakes
- ¼ tsp Sichuan peppercorn powder
- 1 Tbsp black bean paste + ½ tsp red chili paste
- ½ Tbsp fermented black beans soaked drained and chopped
For the sauce:
- 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
- ⅓ cup vegetable stock
- ½ Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp tapioca powder
- 2 Tbsp cold water
For the rice
- 1 cup fancy rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 small cipolline onion, minced
- In a medium saucepan, drizzle in vegetable oil and sesame oil. Bring to a medium heat and sauté for 1 minute. season with salt and white pepper.
- Add rice and stir until well coated with the oil and onion. Pour in water, cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and stir and place cover back on, turn heat down a bit. Cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is the texture you want. I usually turn off the heat and leave it covered to steam for the last 2 minutes. Remember to stir it occasionally to keep it from burning on the bottom.
- In a medium saucepan place cubed tofu in. Pour the vegetable stock over and bring to a boil then turn heat down to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let tofu sit in broth.
- Drizzle oil into wok, bring to a high heat. Toss ground beef in and break up with a wooden spoon. Sizzle for 5 minutes or until beef browns a bit. Remove beef into a dish and keep oil and renderings in the wok.
Chili bean oil:
- Pour oil into wok where the beef was cooked. Bring to a medium heat and toss in chopped scallion whites, and minced ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds.
- Add in red chili flakes, and Sichuan peppercorn powder. Stir fry for another 30 seconds. Time to spoon in the black bean paste and red chili paste, plus the chopped fermented black beans, and stir fry again for another 30 seconds.
- Drain the tofu and place in wok with chili bean paste. Throw in cooked ground beef. Mix all ingredients for the sauce in a ramekin, except the tapioca starch and water. Stir and cover. Simmer on medium heat for 3 minutes.
- In another ramekin or small bowl spoon in tapioca starch and water. Whisk until it becomes a slurry. Take lid off wok and slowly pour the slurry into the center of the wok. Stir and add more if sauce isn't thickening. Once the sauce thickens turn off heat. Take those reserved scallion greens chop at a diagonal and sprinkle over Mapo tofu.
- Ready to serve.
If you like yours super spicy use 1 teaspoon red chili powder.
In the original recipe he uses Sichuan chili bean paste instead of the black bean and red chili paste I used.
I used the red chili flakes instead of the Chinese red chili powder.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Main
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Chinese
Keywords: Mapo tofu, Chinese cuisine, Medium firm tofu, Sichuan peppercorns, black bean paste, red chili paste, Scallions, ginger,
When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.