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Mapo Tofu

Mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) is a tofu and meat dish cooked in a spicy chilli bean sauce.  It is a popular dish in Sichuan (Szechuan) cuisine. The dish packs a fiery savoury punch and we always needed more rice than usual to enjoy all of the spicy sauce.

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Toasting the sichuan peppercorn

The sauce has a numbing and lip-stinging effect depending on how much Sichuan pepper (picture above) is added, so in the home cooked version, this numbness can be toned up and down to suit your preference. I never imagined that cooking this dish at home can be so cheap and easy. I have cooked this dish so often that I can now make it in about 20 minutes from preparation to end.

Mapo Tofu

The name of the dish (source: Wiki) literally translates to “Pockmarked-Face Lady’s Tofu” – where legend tells of the pockmarked-face lady who ran an inn on the outskirts of the city selling this popular dish. Another plausible but less widely acceptable explanation for the name is that the word “Ma” (麻) relates to the numbing effect of the Sichuan pepper used to cook this dish.

19 comments on “Mapo Tofu”

  1. Found you on foodgawker … And so glad I did because Ma Po Tofu is my FAVORITE! It totally takes me back to my spicy childhood memories.

    Thanks for the recipe; I will be making it for sure as soon as the weather decides that 90 degrees is no longer fitting for the month of October.

  2. I want this for supper tonight. I really like that 15 minute deadline, and I have everything on hand to make it. Yum.

  3. I just cooked this last night for friends and they LOVED it, including my ‘ang mo’ hubby! He normally doesn’t like tofu so you know this dish is yummy! I am a Singaporean living in the UK and a friend sent me your page. I have tried about five or six recipes and have increased my repertoire so thank you!!! What I like is that most of the recipes are quick and easy to follow, which is great after a hard day at work.

  4. Hi wiffy

    Is it possible to change the minced pork to minced beef?

  5. Hi there! I love your website! Great recipes, photos and tips on cooking! Very informative and useful for a noob like me. You are definitely not a noob if you could amass such a diverse range of recipes. I can see that you are a very experienced cook!

    I cooked this dish too with exactly the same sauce you’re using but with much lesser ingredients. For me, it’s just the minced meat, tofu, garlic and chilli bean sauce. It goes really well with rice I must say!

    I’ll certainly try out some of your recipes! :)

  6. Pingback: Tofu with Minced Meat Recipe

  7. Pingback: Ma po tofu | Low cost low carb

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