Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐)
Mapo tofu (doufu) is a tofu and meat dish cooked in a spicy chilli bean sauce. It is a popular dish in Sichuan (Szechuan) cuisine. Growing up, I really love this dish and I was delighted whenever my family ordered it. The dish packs a fiery savoury punch and we always needed more rice than usual to enjoy all of the spicy sauce. The sauce has a numbing and lip-stinging effect depending on how much Sichuan pepper is added, though the home cooked version is usually toned down in terms of numbness. I never imagined that cooking this dish at home can be so cheap and easy. I have cooked this dish so often that I can now make it in about 20 minutes from preparation to end. If you like a localised version of Mapo Tofu without the dou ban jiang (豆瓣酱) and Sichuan pepper, do check out my simmered tofu with minced pork recipe.
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The name of the dish 麻婆豆腐 (source: Wiki) literally translates to “Pockmarked-Face Lady’s Tofu” – where legend tells of the pockmarked-face lady who ran an inn on the outskirts of the city selling this popular dish. Another plausible but less widely acceptable explanation for the name is that the word “Ma” (麻) relates to the numbing effect of the Sichuan pepper used to cook this dish.
Get the printable recipe for Mapo Tofu on page 2)
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