Mapo tofu is a very spicy dish of silken tofu, minced pork, chilli bean paste and lots of dried chillies and sichuan peppercorns. This dish is so very spicy that it’s not for the faint hearted. It will leave you huffing and puffing as you feel the sensation of your lips and tongue burning. These days I’m too wimpy to order a dish like mapo tofu when we eat out because I can’t handle the amount of chillies being used.
When I make mapo tofu at home I really do turn down the spiciness so that it’s suitable for the children as well. I really do love the salty flavours of the chilli bean paste with the soft delicate tofu. After the kids get their share I would add some chilli flakes to add a bit more spiciness to mine. Our family really love this tofu dish as its tastes great and also so quick and simple to put together. Honestly, this dish is on constant rotation at our house. I always make sure we have tofu in the fridge because they do last for a couple of weeks. It really is a perfect mid week meal that you can whip up really quick.
Spicy Tofu Recipe
900g medium firm tofu)
250g minced pork
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbs minced ginger
2 stalks of spring onions, sliced
1 cup water/no-salt chicken stock
3 tbsp chilli bean paste
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp caster sugar
1⁄2 tsp sesame oil
1⁄2 tsp chilli flakes*
4 Sichuan pepper* (slightly crushed)
Cut the tofu into large cubes (about 2cm, they usually come in large squares so cut each squares into fours). Add water and tofu into a small saucepan and bring to gentle boil and leave to cook on medium heat for 5 mins. Gently drain the tofu.
Place a wok over high heat. Add the oil and pork mince and stir fry until browned, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon. Add the spring onion, garlic, ginger, peppercorns (optional) and stir-fry for few seconds. Next add in the rice wine, chilli bean paste and cook until the mixture is aromatic. Add the chicken stock/water, bring to the boil and season with soy sauce and sugar. Gently add the tofu into the wok and carefully work the tofu into the sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly.
In a small bowl add the cornflour with 1 tablespoon water and pour into the sauce. Cook for a further 2 minutes until thickened. Sprinkle with spring onions and stir through so that it’s slightly wilted.
Serve with steamed rice.
* Add if you want to add a little more spiciness. Depending on the brand of chilli bean paste this should already give you some mild spiciness.