Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu

Mapo tofu is a well-known and popular Chinese dish from Sichuan Province. I don’t remember when I first had it but what I do remember is the numbing sensation from the Sichuan peppercorn! If you love tofu and spice, you will definitely love this dish. Best served with a steamy bowl of rice.

 Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4-5  

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pack of soft/silken or medium firm tofu (~14-16 ounces)
  • 8 ounces of ground pork
  • 4 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon of seasoning sauce (I used Golden Mountain brand), you can substitute with soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of whole Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 teaspoon of chili oil (see note #1)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger, minced
  • 2.5 tablespoons of doubanjiang, Chinese spicy bean sauce (see note #1)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cups of low sodium chicken stock or water (see note #2)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional, see note #3)
  • 1 stalk of green onion, chopped
  • 2-3 thai bird-eye chili, chopped (optional)

NOTE

  1. You can add more doubanjiang and chili oil if you want a saltier and spicier dish.
  2. Chicken stock will give the dish a boost in flavor. 
  3. The cornstarch is used to thicken the sauce. If you like the tofu with a thinner broth, skip using the cornstarch. However, I’d recommend thickening the sauce for a more flavorful bite!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix ground pork with shaoxing wine, seasoning sauce or soy sauce, and minced ginger in a bowl.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium high heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorn and stir until it is brown and crispy . Take them out with a slotted spoon and put it aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Add ground meat mixture and the doubanjiang to the pan. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the meat is well coated with the doubanjiang.
  4. Add sugar, chili-oil, thai bird-eye chili, and five-spice powder to the pan and do a quick stir. The add the tofu in an even layer on top of the ground pork mixture (do not stir at this time because the tofu will break into smaller pieces. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 8 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer for an additional 8 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half. 
  5. In the meantime, ground the fried Sichuan peppercorn using mortar and pestle.
  6. Gently stir to mix. Add half of the grounded Sichuan peppercorn into the pan and gently stir. Taste the sauce and tofu, adjust spice level as needed. Add more sugar if it is too spicy, or add more chili oil and thai bird-eye chili if it’s not spicy enough.
  7. Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water or 1 tablespoon of the sauce. Mix until the cornstarch is dissolved and pour into the pan. Gently stir for 1 minute or so until sauce thickens.
  8. Serve and enjoy! If desired, you can garnish the dish with a pinch of the remaining ground Sichuan peppercorn.

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