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Mapo Tofu

Toasting the sichuan peppercorn

Toasting the sichuan peppercorn

Mapo Tofu Recipe (麻婆豆腐)

In this recipe, the essential ingredients are chilli bean sauce (辣豆瓣酱) and Sichuan peppercorn. The bean sauce can be readily purchased at supermarkets. Sichuan pepper is more “ma” (麻 numbing) than “la” (辣 spicy) so the chilli powder is definitely an essential ingredient to up the heat level.

Serves: 2-3

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 12 mins


  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 garlic cloves cloves minced
  • 1 tsp dried fermented black beans rinsed, patted dry & mashed slightly with a fork
  • 70 grams minced pork (or chicken)
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean sauce/la dou ban jiang (辣豆瓣酱)
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground Sichuan pepper (花椒; “flower pepper”)
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder to taste
  • 150 grams firm Chinese tofu (beancurd) cubed
  • 2 stalks spring onions cut to 1 cm length
  • cornstarch solution 1 tbsp water mixed with 1/2 tbsp cornstarch


  1. Heat oil in a wok, stir fry garlic and fermented black beans until fragrant.
  2. Add minced pork to the wok and stir fry the meat until most of it is no longer pink, breaking the meat up to smaller bits using the spatula or turner.
  3. Add chilli bean sauce, stir fry and mix it into the minced meat to coat evenly.
  4. Add Chinese wine and smell the aroma of the wine seconds later as the alcohol evaporates.
  5. Add water, soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a boil then lower heat. Add Sichuan pepper powder and chilli powder.
  6. Gently add tofu cubes and spring onions. Simmer over low heat for 3 minutes, taking care not to break the tofu cubes.
  7. Thicken with cornstarch solution until the gravy reaches the desired thickness. Serve with steamed white rice.

Two methods to get Sichuan pepper powder

  • Freshly made - Heat up a dry pan or wok (no need oil) and toast the peppercorn for a few minutes until fragrant. Thereafter, grind the roasted peppercorn in an electric blender or pound using a mortar and pestle. Finally, run the powder through a sieve to remove any large bits. Prepare the Sichuan pepper just before cooking the dish for maximum freshness.
  • Shortcut method - buy bottled ground Sichuan pepper powder which is less potent than freshly ground pepper, but it is a great time saver.

Leave a Comment

19 Responses to “Mapo Tofu”

  1. Annie — October 15, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    Found you on foodgawker … And so glad I did because Ma Po Tofu is my FAVORITE! It totally takes me back to my spicy childhood memories.

    Thanks for the recipe; I will be making it for sure as soon as the weather decides that 90 degrees is no longer fitting for the month of October.


  2. Linda West Eckhardt — October 18, 2011 @ 2:52 am

    I want this for supper tonight. I really like that 15 minute deadline, and I have everything on hand to make it. Yum.


  3. sgbabe — December 30, 2011 @ 1:35 am

    I just cooked this last night for friends and they LOVED it, including my ‘ang mo’ hubby! He normally doesn’t like tofu so you know this dish is yummy! I am a Singaporean living in the UK and a friend sent me your page. I have tried about five or six recipes and have increased my repertoire so thank you!!! What I like is that most of the recipes are quick and easy to follow, which is great after a hard day at work.


  4. shariffa — September 3, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    Hi wiffy

    Is it possible to change the minced pork to minced beef?


    • wiffy replied: — September 3rd, 2012 @ 11:50 am

      Hi shariffa, you can change to either minced beef or chicken.


  5. Reuben — April 26, 2013 @ 10:57 am

    Hi there! I love your website! Great recipes, photos and tips on cooking! Very informative and useful for a noob like me. You are definitely not a noob if you could amass such a diverse range of recipes. I can see that you are a very experienced cook!

    I cooked this dish too with exactly the same sauce you’re using but with much lesser ingredients. For me, it’s just the minced meat, tofu, garlic and chilli bean sauce. It goes really well with rice I must say!

    I’ll certainly try out some of your recipes! :)


    • wiffy replied: — April 29th, 2013 @ 11:20 am

      thank you, your version sounds good too :)



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