Mapo Tofu

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Ready In: 30 mins
Serves: 2
Photo: Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu or 麻婆豆腐 is a humble and tasty Sichuan dish made with tofu and ground beef (or pork). The spicy dish is simple and easy to prepare, and oh so delicious!


  • 500 g firm tofu
  • 50 g ground beef
  • 5 scallions
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp spicy bean paste (郫县豆瓣酱/Pixian Dou Ban Jiang)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp MSG


  1. Cut the tofu into 3 cm cubes. Add salt to a pot of gently boiling water, stir to dissolve. Add tofu and wait for the water start to boil again. Remove the tofu, and let it cool.
  2. Mix corn starch and 2 tbsp water in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a wok on medium heat and brown the beef, about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn down the heat, add finely chopped ginger, minced garlic, soy sauce and spicy bean paste to the wok. Stir fry until red oil separates from the paste (15-20 seconds).
  5. Add 2 cups of water to the wok and gently place the tofu in the water, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add MSG and stir in the corn starch mixture, careful not to break the tofu. Gently stir until the tofu is completely coated with sauce. Cook about 2 minutes longer.
  7. Place the Mapo Tofu in a medium-deep dish or bowl, sprinkle Sichuan pepper powder and chopped scallions over dish and serve immediately.


  • Ground beef can be replaced with ground pork. For a vegetarian version you can just skip the meat (and step 3).
  • Boiling the tofu in salted water helps firm the tofo and prevents it from breaking into pieces in later cooking.

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