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


Try this recipe for mapo tofu, then check out our 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. 



  • 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)


  • 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 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