Mapo Tofu

Mapo tofu

  • serves 4
  • Easy

The people of Sichuan love chilli and the lip tingle of sichuan peppercorns – exactly what this dish celebrates. Add plenty of chiu chow chilli oil to really make it sing

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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. 

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Ingredients

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

Method

  • 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 ocado.com.
  • 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 dumplings in hot and sour broth, too

A bowl filled with dumplings in a broth

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 581
  • Fat 35.7g
  • Saturates 6.4g
  • Carbs 23.9g
  • Sugars 12.5g
  • Fibre 5.8g
  • Protein 38.1g
  • Salt 2.2g
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