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5 from 12 votes

Mapo tofu, the authentic way (麻婆豆腐)

Tender tofu cooked in an aromatic and spicy sauce, accompanied by minced meat. This recipe shows you how to make Mapo tofu the authentic way.
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Tofu
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 529kcal
Author: Wei Guo


For the tofu

  • 600 g soft tofu 21oz
  • ½ tsp salt

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tsp ginger minced
  • 100 g minced beef or pork 3.5oz
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan chilli bean paste see note 1
  • 1 tbsp fermented black beans rinsed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder or to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 500 ml unsalted stock or water 2 cups
  • 2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 3 tablespoons water

For the garnish


  • Cut the tofu into 2.5cm / 1inch cubes. Gently slide the cubes into a pot filled with cold water. Add salt. Bring the water to a boil then simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat up the oil in a wok. Add ginger then leave to sizzle for 10 seconds. Add minced meat and rice wine. Stir fry until the meat becomes pale.
  • Stir in Sichuan chilli bean paste, fermented black beans, chilli powder and garlic. Fry until fragrant.
  • Pour in stock/water then bring to a boil. Gently slide in drained tofu. Leave to boil (uncovered) until the volume of the liquid reduces by one third.
  • Pour half of the starch & water mixture into the wok (stir well beforehand). Leave to boil for 10 seconds or so. Add the other half. Remove the wok from the heat when the sauce is thickened.
  • Sprinkle with spring onion and ground Sichuan pepper. Serve it hot with plain rice.


1. Different brands of Sichuan chilli bean paste (aka spicy Doubanjiang) may vary in saltiness, hotness and texture. Adjust the volume accordingly. Best to use Pixian Douban(郫县豆瓣), a well-known variety, which needs to be roughly chopped prior to cooking.
2. In terms of the level of hotness and numbing sensation, this recipe is not adapted for non-Sichuanese tastes. You might find it too tangy if you are not accustomed to it. Please feel free to alter the amount of relevant ingredients. You may also add a little sugar to balance the spiciness as well as the saltiness.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 529kcal