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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. I LOVE mabo tofu too!! The hotter and more mouth-numbing, the better. I like to see the sauce super dark red. Just looking at this post and thinking about it is making my mouth water. Have to make it this week!

  2. I cook that days ago!! Love that chilli bean sauce~ thanks for the recipe, Wify

  3. Aw, my all-time favourite dish. I can have a large bowl of rice with this dish. :)

  4. Ha! I cooked the same thing yesterday, also used the LKK chili bean sauce. :)

  5. Yes, the classic sauce for sure. I wonder what else can we do with the sauce other than to make ma po tofu?

  6. This is so good with rice! Happy holidays!

  7. Hi Wiffy! Love mapo dofu, always so appetizing and such a rice puller :D

    Btw, wanted to let u know that the name of my blog has changed from Tastes of Home to “Smoky Wok”..

  8. Mapo tofu is one of my favorite things to order at restaurants, but I’ve never made it at home. I have to try making it!

  9. One of my favorite dishes — could eat a quart of rice with this stuff 8).

  10. I love mapo tofu! I just made some the other night, too. Yum!

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