Mápó dòufu (麻婆豆腐) is a classic spicy tofu and meat dish from Szechuan province in China. It is a very flavourful, easy to prepare, and spicy dish.
- 500g (1 lb) silken tofu, cubed
- 2 tbsp chili bean paste (Doubanjiang)
- 1 tbsp Szechuan pepper, roasted and ground
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 3-4 green onions, cut into 2cm (1") pieces
- 2-3 mushrooms – tree ears preferred (optional)
- If adding dried mushrooms, soak these in hot water for 10 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients, then slice before adding later.
- Sauté onion with ginger and crushed chili.
- Add minced meat and garlic, and fry until brown.
- Mix in other ingredients (including sliced mushrooms), lower heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Serve over steamed jasmine rice.
Notes, tips and variations
- Some extra chili pepper can be substituted for Szechuan pepper, but the taste and feeling will be different. Szechuan pepper has a numbing flavour, not a hot flavour.
- A little ground coriander and cumin is very nice in this dish, especially if you cannot find Szechuan pepper easily.
- A red bell pepper, a tomato, and fresh coriander leaves are all welcome additions, though not traditional.
- The meal is just as good with whole beans instead of tofu.
- A vegetarian version of this meal can be made by substituting the meat with ground tofu (e.g. Shiok Food's Vegetarian Ma Po Tofu)