Mapo Dofu

by: admin Vegetarian

This recipe calls for tofu that is medium-firm to firm. Such tofu is usually labeled silken. If you use soft tofu instead, it will fall apart.


  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, divided (see directions below)
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 1 pound medium to firm silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Water to cook the tofu in
  • 2 ounces ground beef or ground pork
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ inch fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fermented chili broad bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon Xiaoxing wine
  • ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon roasted chili oil
  • 2 tablespoon finely sliced scallion greens, divided (see directions below)


  1. Peel and grate the garlic cloves. Grate the ginger. Set aside for later (see point 9).
  1. Heat up a large wok over high heat and add ½ tablespoon of the Sichuan peppercorns. Heat the peppercorns until lightly smoking, before transferring them to a mortar. Use a pestle to ground them finely. Set aside for later (see point 12).
  2. Put the other ½ tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns in the wok together with 1/8 cup of vegetable oil. Heat over medium-high heat until lightly sizzling. (This will normally take 1-2 minutes.
  3. Use a wire mesh skimmer to remove the peppercorns from the wok, while letting the oil stay in the wok. Remove from heat, set aside for later (see point 7).
  4. In a small bowl, combine corn starch with cold water.
  5. Fill a saucepan with enough water to cook the tofu in. Bring to a boil before adding the tofu. Cook the tofu for 1 minute.
  6. Gently transfer the tofu to a colander to drain.
  7. Heat up the oil in the wok again. When it is smoking, add the ground beef or ground pork and cook for 1 minute while stirring to ensure the meat gets evenly cooked.
  8. Stir in garlic and ginger with the ground beef. Cook for 20 seconds.
  9. Stir in wine, soy sauce, chili broad bean paste and chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
  10. Stir in the corn starch mixture and cook until the dish thickens. (This will rarely take more than 30 seconds.)
  11. Gently fold in the tofu, the roasted chili oil and half of the scallions. Simmer for 30 seconds.
  12. Transfer to two serving bowls. Sprinkle with the rest of the scallions and the ground Sichuan pepper from the mortar.

About Mapo Dofu

Mapo dofu is a tofu-based dish from the China’s Sichuan province, where many variants of the recipe exists. Examples of ingredients that can be added in addition to those listed in our recipe above are fermented black beans (douchi), water chestnuts, onions, wood ear fungus, sugar, and chili flakes made from the heaven-facing chili pepper variant.

The Chinese name for this dish means roughly pock-marked old woman’s tofu.

  • Ma stands for ma-zi, which means scarred by pox.
  • Po stands for popo, which means old woman or grandmother.
  • Dofu is the same as tofu, a food made by curdling soy bean milk and pressing the curd into a block.