Chinese Mapo Tofu Recipe - Authentic and Flavorful

Chinese Mapo Tofu

Chinese Mapo Tofu Recipe - Authentic and Flavorful
Region / culture: China | Preparation time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Servings: 4


Chinese Mapo Tofu
Chinese Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu is a popular Chinese dish known for its spicy and flavorful sauce that coats tender cubes of tofu. This dish is a staple in Sichuan cuisine and is loved for its bold and complex flavors.


Mapo Tofu is believed to have originated in the Sichuan province of China. It was created by a woman named Chen Mapo, who was known for her exceptional cooking skills. The dish quickly gained popularity for its unique combination of spicy, savory, and numbing flavors.


How to prepare

  1. In a wok or deep skillet, place oil, black bean sauce, red chili sauce with garlic, and ground pork.
  2. Turn the heat on high and gradually combine the sauces and meat as the heat increases.
  3. When the meat is browned and cooked through, turn the heat to medium and add cubed tofu and 0.25 cup of water.
  4. Mix gently and continue to simmer for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well blended and tofu is heated through.
  5. Add green onion and toss.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Presentation: Serve hot accompanied with cooked white rice.

Cook's notes

  1. Black bean garlic sauce and red chili paste with garlic are available at Asian markets and some supermarkets with large Asian specialty sections.
  2. Chili bean paste can be substituted for the black bean garlic sauce and red chili paste.


  • Add Sichuan peppercorns for a numbing and aromatic flavor.
  • Use ground chicken or beef instead of pork for a different twist.
  • Add mushrooms or bell peppers for extra texture and flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to use fresh tofu for the best texture and flavor.

- Adjust the amount of red chili paste to suit your spice preference.

- Be gentle when stirring the tofu to prevent it from breaking apart.

- Garnish with additional green onions for a fresh and vibrant finish.

Serving Suggestions

Mapo Tofu is traditionally served with steamed white rice to balance out the spiciness of the dish. You can also serve it with noodles or steamed vegetables for a lighter option.

Cooking Techniques

Sauté the aromatics and meat on high heat to develop a deep flavor.

- Simmer the tofu gently to prevent it from breaking apart.

- Adjust the seasoning to suit your taste preferences.

Ingredient Substitutions

Substitute ground turkey for a leaner option.

- Use vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor.

- Replace the black bean garlic sauce with hoisin sauce for a sweeter taste.

Make Ahead Tips

Mapo Tofu can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish the Mapo Tofu with additional green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for a beautiful presentation. Serve it in a decorative bowl for an elegant touch.

Pairing Recommendations

Mapo Tofu pairs well with a crisp and refreshing cucumber salad or a side of pickled vegetables. You can also serve it with a light and fruity white wine to complement the spicy flavors.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the Mapo Tofu in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Mapo Tofu contains approximately 250 calories.


Mapo Tofu is a low-carb dish, with approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates per serving.


This dish is moderate in fats, with around 15 grams of fat per serving.


Mapo Tofu is a good source of protein, providing about 20 grams per serving.

Vitamins and minerals

Tofu is rich in calcium, iron, and magnesium, while green onions provide vitamins A and C.


This recipe contains soy and may not be suitable for those with soy allergies.


Mapo Tofu is a nutritious dish that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It is a great option for those looking for a healthy and satisfying meal.


Mapo Tofu is a delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for a cozy night in. With its bold flavors and tender tofu, this dish is sure to become a favorite in your household. Enjoy it with steamed rice and your favorite side dishes for a satisfying meal.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of discovering this recipe for the first time is a cherished one. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl living in a small village in China. I had always been fascinated by the art of cooking, and I would spend hours watching my mother and grandmother prepare delicious meals for our family.

One day, a traveling merchant came to our village. He was a kind old man with a twinkle in his eye and a satchel full of exotic spices and ingredients. I was drawn to him like a moth to a flame, and I eagerly followed him around as he set up his stall in the village square.

As I watched him unpack his wares, my eyes fell upon a small packet of dried Sichuan peppercorns. I had never seen anything like them before, and I was intrigued by their pungent aroma. I approached the merchant and asked him about the mysterious spice.

He smiled kindly at me and began to tell me about a dish called Mapo Tofu. He described it as a spicy and flavorful dish made with tofu, ground pork, and Sichuan peppercorns. My mouth watered at the thought of tasting such a dish, and I begged the merchant to teach me how to make it.

To my surprise, he agreed. He invited me to his home that evening, where he patiently guided me through the process of making Mapo Tofu. I watched intently as he chopped vegetables, browned the pork, and simmered the dish in a fragrant sauce. The scent that filled the air was intoxicating, and I knew that I had stumbled upon something truly special.

As we sat down to eat, I took my first bite of the Mapo Tofu. The flavors exploded in my mouth, and I was instantly hooked. The dish was spicy, savory, and utterly delicious. I thanked the merchant profusely for teaching me his recipe, and I vowed to make it for my family as soon as I returned home.

From that day on, Mapo Tofu became a staple in our household. I made it for my family whenever I could, and they always devoured it with gusto. As the years went by, I began to experiment with the recipe, adding my own personal touches and variations.

I shared my recipe with friends and neighbors, and soon it became a well-loved dish in our village. People would come from far and wide to taste my Mapo Tofu, and I was proud to have a dish that was uniquely mine.

Over the years, I have continued to refine and perfect my recipe for Mapo Tofu. I have learned new techniques and tricks, and I have incorporated different ingredients to enhance the flavor of the dish. But no matter how much I tweak the recipe, the memory of that fateful day when I first discovered it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Mapo Tofu has become more than just a dish to me. It is a reminder of the power of food to bring people together, to create lasting memories, and to nourish both body and soul. And as long as I am able, I will continue to cook this dish with love and passion, passing down the recipe to future generations so that they too can experience the joy of Mapo Tofu.


| Chinese Meat Dishes | Chinese Recipes | Green Onion Recipes | Ground Pork Recipes | Tofu Recipes | White Rice Recipes |

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