Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐 is one of the popular traditional dish in Sichuan, China. It was first created on 1862 by a chef with nickname “Ma Po” and that was how it got the name. When the dish was originally cooked, it was made by using beef. As it evolved and become more widespread, people substituted it with pork to make it more inclusive. Thus, for now, this ingredient is interchangeable, while retaining the specialty of this dish.
Flavor in Mapo Tofu
Quoted from Wikipedia, “the feel of the particular dish is often described by cooks using seven specific Chinese adjectives: má 麻 (numbing), là 辣 (spicy hot), tāng 烫 (hot temperature), xiān 鲜 (fresh), nèn 嫩 (tender and soft), xiāng 香 (aromatic), and sū 酥 (flaky). “
Salty spicy bean paste and fermented black beans are the most important ingredients that give the distinctive flavor for this dish. The hint of chili oil, Sichuan pepper corn and chili flakes stimulate the appetite; that is why it is always a good companion for white rice.
My Story with Mapo Tofu
Chinese food in Malaysia get more influence from Guangdong Cuisine. It tends to be milder in flavor and lighter on the seasoning as compared to Chinese food from other regions of China. From my personal experience, it is on a little sweet side.
I started to get getting exposure to various Chinese style cooking in my college year. It was a fun and that was the time I started to fall in love with Sichuan cuisine! The spicy level was…… INDESCRIBABLE! The numbness, yet appetizing flavor makes me addicted Sichuan cooking style. Well, given the precondition that I love spicy food.
Mapo Tofu is one of my favorite. It was a MUST order Chinese food for me. So I decided to learn and make it at home. However, I found it a bit challenging to get Sichuan peppercorns in ordinary grocery stores; thus, this recipe is modified to accommodate this limitation. Hope you will like it.
Mapo Tofu Recipe
Yield : 2-3 people
Time : 25 minutes
- 0.5 lbs minced pork
- 1 piece of firm tofu (you can choose any type of tofu)
- 0.25 pieces ginger
- 5 cloves garlic
- Birdeye chili (for some spiciness level)
- 2 tbsp of spicy bean paste
- 1 tbsp of douchi (fermented black bean)
- Soy sauce, sugar, salt
- Cornstarch for thickening
- Scallions for garnish
Note : These can be adjusted according to your flavor.
- Stir fry the minced ginger and garlic until fragrance.
- Then, add in the grounded pork.
- Mix in douchi, followed by spicy bean sauce. Season with some soy sauce and sugar for taste.
- When the sugar dissolves and everything blends well, put in the tofu pieces.
- Gently mix them to make sure that every pieces get coated with the sauce.
- Pour in a little bit of water (so that you can have some the gravy for later).
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, dissolves the cornstarch with a little of water.
- Turn to low heat, add in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer it again until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
- Garnish with some scallions.
- Serve it with a bowl of rice.