Friday, November 16, 2012

Sichuan Mapo Tofu (Má Pó Dòufu)

Homemade recipe for delicious  Sichuan Mapo Tofu (Má Pó Dòufu)

What I can say about this dish other than it was born in Sichuan (Szechuan)-Chinese province; however this dish spread and became popular across other Chinese provinces and the Northeastern Asia-- Japan, Korea and Taiwan, where the flavor is adapted to local tastes. 
I absolutely love Ma Po Tofu. It is perfect blend, perfect taste, and makes amazing meal especially who loves spicy and if you combine it with egg noodles or rice it will ease the burning mouth.
Originally I found the recipe in one of my favorite cookbook Lemongrass and Ginger by Leemei Tan--Can I just say that I carried this book everywhere I went that's how much I enjoyed it and I highly recommend it.
As I typed in the search box "Ma Po Tofu" hundreds of recipes came up... that is power of Internet! The more I read, the more interesting it got...the history, the stories, recipes, Sichuan peppercorn US ban, est...I mean you learn something every single day. I will skip all those because you can easily find it online how this dish got its legendary name (ma麻 means pockmarked , po 婆 - elderly women, doufu豆腐 -tofu). 

Easy and Spicy recipe for Sichuan Mapo Tofu (Má Pó Dòufu)

Serves 4
slightly adapted from Lemongrass and Ginger
  • 1 pk. Silken or Firm Tofu-Preferably Organic, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 in piece fresh Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 Lb. Ground Lean beef or Pork
  • 2 tsp. Chili Bean Paste (doubanjiang)
  • 1 Tbs. Soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbs. Oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Beef Broth or Water
  • 1/4 tsp. Sichuan Peppercorn, grounded  (or to your heat preferences)
  • 1 tsp. Cornstarch + water
  • 2-3 Scallions, chopped
  • Red Peppers for garnish 
Serve it with Rice or Egg Noodles
Simple and delicious recipe for homemade  Sichuan Mapo Tofu (Má Pó Dòufu)

 Sichuan Mapo Tofu (Má Pó Dòufu)

  1. Heat the pot of water, take off the burner and gently drop the cubed Tofu in; Keep it in the hot water until ready to use. 
  2. Heat the Wok (or frying pan) with sesame oil, and put garlic and ginger; stir fry just for few seconds and until fragrant and don NOT let it burn (so medium heat is fine) 
  3. Add ground beef or pork, and while you stir fry it break the lumps; Cook until it start to brown. 
  4. Add the chili bean paste, soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, toasted and then grounded Sichuan pepper  mix it all together and add 1/2 cup beef broth--boil for next 5 minutes on high temperature.
  5. Turn down a heat and with spider draining spoon remove tofu from water and drop in the wok( or you can also gently drain the water out).
  6. Gently move the wok left and right motion without stir frying, if you try to stir fry tofu will fall apart. 
  7. Combine cornstarch with bit of water, mix until smooth and slowly pour over the tofu and ground beef mixture. Again gently mix it in with back and forward motion trying not to break the tofu. 
  8. Sprinkle chopped scallions, and you can add more when the dish is served. 
  9. Serve it hot with rice or egg noddles.


  • Sichuan peppercorns are not related in any way to black peppercorns, therefor they should not be confused one for another. Sichuan peppercorns belong to rue or citrus family. They have unique aroma and gives you numbness in the mouth. Most of the times seedpods should be toasted and grounded/crushed, and often added in the recipe the last minute. You can find them in Chinese markets, Asian markets and/or online. 
  • Mapo Tofu is nothing without second star(ingredient) of this dish Chili Bean Paste or Doubanjiang (Làjiāo-Chili dòubàn jiàng-bean paste). Read more HERE  about it!

I would like to take this time and thank my Chinese readers. My blog receive visitors from all over the world, but readers from China are visiting the most my blog right after US and Canada. So from bottom of my heart Xiexie 谢谢

Wishing you all fantastic Friday and weekend ahead!!!! TGIF!!!

Your Friend, 

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  1. Sandra, your mapo tofu looks so delicious! I definitely want to double the recipe to go with extra rice.

  2. What a scrumptious dish, I love these flavors!

  3. I think this might be dinner tonight! Sichuan is my favorite Chinese cuisine cuz I love a little heat. Have a great weekend, Sandra :)

  4. That looks like such delicious exotic cuisine :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Looks really appetizing Sandra. I have never tried Sichuan peppers before. Maybe I should start looking around here if I can find it. It seems very interesting to cook with.

  6. Sandra this is a stunningly beautiful dish. I just adore the photos too. I would eat at your table any day of the week.

  7. Ma po tofu is one of the dishes my grandma used to make for me when I was younger. I have good memories of this from dinners on my childhood table!

  8. Oh my, how pretty!! And so delicious...all those flavors combined together...sounds amazing.

  9. Ha! Well, the dish certainly looks tastier than the name suggests :)

  10. Looks very delicious and tasty, I absolutely love tofu. Thank you for sharing-)

  11. Wonderful dish! I adore Szechuan food & looking fwd to my food tasting session tmr. Wonder if they'll be serving this dish...... Sandra, yours look so yummy!

  12. I cannot wait to try this recipe when I go back. I didn't realize that Leemei has Mapo Tofu recipe in the book. Your photos of mapo tofu makes me want to eat it now. Beautiful photography, Sandra!


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