Try this recipe for mapo tofu, then check out our recipes for crispy baked tofu, silken tofu, tofu katsu curry, tofu piccata, tofu tikka masala and more tofu recipes.

The hero of this mapo tofu dish is the doubanjiang, the spicy chilli bean paste from Sichuan. It's a pickled chilli and fermented broad bean paste that is a spicy, sour umami bomb.


  • 2 x 280g packs tofu, cut into 3-4cm pieces
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 300g pork mince
  • 7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp crushed sichuan peppercorns
  • 6 tbsp chilli bean paste (doubinjiang/toban jang, see cook's notes below)
  • 6 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (see cook's notes below)
  • 500ml light chicken stock
  • 8 spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 ½ tbsp cornflour
  • 1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp chiu chow chilli oil (see cook's notes below)


  • STEP 1

    Put the tofu into a bowl and pour over a kettle of just-boiled water and add a pinch of salt. Leave to soak while you make the sauce.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or frying pan until smoking, then fry the pork mince for 4-5 minutes or until really crisp, breaking any lumps up with the side of a spoon. Reduce the heat and add the garlic, ginger and sichuan pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until smelling fragrant, then add the chilli bean paste and cook for 1 minute.

  • STEP 3

    Add the shaoxing, chicken stock, ¾ of the spring onions and the tofu back to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp of cold water to make a paste, then add to the pan and mix. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened, then season with sugar and chilli oil.

  • STEP 4

    Tip into a serving bowl and scatter with the remaining spring onions. Serve with rice, if you like.

Cook's notes

  • Chilli bean paste (doubinjiang/toban jang) otherwise known as doubinjiang or toban jang, is a salty paste made from fermented broad beans, soya beans, salt, rice and various spices. Lee Kum Kee chilli bean paste is available from Asian supermarkets and
  • Chiu chow chilli oil originates from southern China and is made from preserved chilies and garlic blended with soy bean oil. Lee Kum Kee brand is a good one and is available from large supermarkets.

Try our wonton soup recipe...

A bowl filled with dumplings in a broth


Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor

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