Mapo Tofu Recipe (麻婆豆腐)
September 28th, 2007 98 Comments

Mapo Tofu Recipe (麻婆豆腐)

Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐)
Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐) pictures (2 of 5)

(Chinese recipes, prepare authentic Chinese food now!)

Recently, my colleague asked me for Mapo Tofu/麻婆豆腐 recipe. He has just gotten into cooking and wished to try making Mapo Tofu at home. I was psyched by the idea of teaching a novice home cook with my secret Mapo Tofu recipe; great recipes are meant to be shared.

I went through the recipe with him in great length. But he ditched the idea of making Mapo Tofu from scratch. It was too complicated and troublesome, he said. He bought a packet of instant Mapo Tofu mix instead.

Is Mapo Tofu/麻婆豆腐 so hard to make at home? Does the long list of ingredients appear intimidating to a novice home cook? I asked myself. The answer is–unfortunately–yes. Making a plate of Mapo Tofu that oozes the signature mala/麻辣 (numbing spiciness) flavor without losing its originality is not easy…

I learned my Mapo Tofu recipe from a Sichuan friend, the birthplace of this famed Chinese recipe. My friend’s mother attended the Sichuan Culinary Institute at Chengdu, so this Mapo Tofu recipe is as authentic as it can be. The Mapo Tofu recipe is not for the faint-hearted, it’s lip-smackingly spicy and downright incendiary (think Angelina Jolie’s lips after eating this!)

BEE-STUNG SWOLLEN LIPS ARE IN, but consider yourself warned. ;)

Related Recipes:

  1. 30-Minute Meal: Steamed Tofu with Ground Pork
  2. Chinese Recipe: Szechuan Wok-fried Chicken
  3. Sichuan-style Crawfish/Crayfish/Crawdad (麻辣小龙虾)
Click Page 2 for the Mapo Tofu Recipe (麻婆豆腐) Recipe
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98 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Cynthia says:

    I don’t think it is too troublesome or long to make mapo tofu, especially when it yields such delicious results! This is an amazing recipe! You are sooo talented! =)

  2. Pingback:Evolve Conscious Life and Style Blog » Blog Archive » Soy it goes

  3. Pingback:Ma Po Tofu (麻婆豆腐) « the geek cooks' chronicles

  4. Amy says:

    My favorite comfort food…God does that look scrumptious! Thank you, now I’m drooling

  5. Pelin says:

    Great recipe! I prepared with extra lean ground meat(cow) instead of pork, and it turned out perfect! Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Barbara says:

    This is similar to one I learned whilst doing an apprenticeship in a Chinese restaurant. In my view, you can’t really have enough of the Szechwan peppercorns!! I add rice wine to help thicken it, and thus find that the recommended cornflour I see in many recipes is not necessary. The beauty of this dish is that in summer, it lifts jaded palates, and in winter, it’s the most warming of soul foods. Whoever invented it was a genius.

  7. Pingback:Mapo tofu for beginners « the lemurs are hungry

  8. Vinita says:

    I’ve been searching the internet for the perfect mapo tofu recipe, and now I know I’ve found the one. I tried your recipe today without the chili oil, and it still turned out spicy and wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  9. Lauren says:

    I spent a few months living in Buenos Aires, and my apartment-mate was Taiwanese. So, of all places, the first place I had Mapo Tofu was in Argentina! It blew my mind, and I think I’m finally going to make it myself!

  10. todd howard says:

    I LOVE my Sichuan foods–hot and spicy, please. I have a question; when you call for chili powder, do you mean the basic chili powder in the US that smells like it’s made from dried guajillo or maybe ancho chiles, or do you mean powedered hot dried red chiles, such as Japonese chiles?

  11. Catherine says:

    I have indian kashmiri chili powder will that work?

  12. danipreda says:

    I too was searching for the best Mapo Tofu recipe, this is a great one, we really enjoyed it. Another thing I have been searching for a very long time, is a recipe for Sechuan pork saussages. I was thinking perhaps you would have access to such recipe with the Sechuan connections…I would so love to make these. In China, it was delivered to me by a friend who had a family in Chengdu producing them on a very small scale, but the family that made them, would not give out the secret:(

  13. Pingback:Mapo Tofu « No Name Blog

  14. Kim says:

    Hi Rasa,
    I just wanted to let you know i tried your Mapo tofu and it was FANTASTIC !! I wanted to let you know that i have linked your site on my website. I mostly make Korean cuisine and would like to share my recipes with you someday.
    Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. Great Job, great site. I will be trying out your other great recipes. I will keep you posted.

  15. Pingback:麻婆豆腐 <3 Mapo Tofu « skyewritestuff

  16. renee says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I bought your book on amazon and I tried this recipe. It’s so yummy. My husband doesn’t eat tofu at all normally, but he loves this dish. Finally I can cook tofu that my husband will enjoy too. I will keep on trying your recipe from your cookbook and leave reviews to you.:)

  17. CozyPixie says:

    In search of the ultimate Mapo Tofu recipe, I’ve tried four other recipes, and while they were good, I find myself coming back to this one again and again. I’ve made this Mapo Tofu recipe three times already and it’s DELICIOUS!!!

  18. Taylor says:

    My family and I love this! It’s not as soupy as the picture above, but this is only my second attempt at authentic Chinese, so I’m still learning. Next time I’ll add more of the actual oil, and maybe even some vegetables with the meat and tofu.

    Thanks for this. <3

  19. Adlina says:

    Hi Bee,

    I’ve made this recipe countless of times for my husband and it’s become his all time favourite dish. Sometimes he requests for it twice a week. I made it for my mum and it too has become a staple at my parents’ place, my dad always asks for this. Of course, I had to switch out the pork with ground beef but it’s really delicious. Thank you for writing a family favourite.

    Your fellow Malaysian,


  20. STSF says:

    Thank you so much. I have been looking for a recipe that echoed the Mapo Tofu I had in Chengdu. This is it. Fortunately, living in San Francisco, I can get all the right ingredients – I think I now have about a gallon of Szechuan peppercorns. Thank you and brilliant. And to think I would not even think of tofu before. Also this recipe, opens the door to other ideas with tofu.

    One question, I have also seen szechuan peppercorn powder ground with salt – have you come across that? I made some and cannot stop tasting it – would be great on roasted peanuts or other items that are salted. And you could reduce the overall salt content.


  21. sub says:

    Hi Rasa,

    Thank you a lot for this fiery infamous Mapo tofu !

    Best recipe on the net !

  22. Jennifer says:

    Bee, what kind of spicy chili bean paste do you use? I use Pixian, but I wonder if there is a better one. Pixian is very salty, I used just two T but it was still not edible.

  23. sub says:

    I think Pixian douban is a key ingredient for this dish.

    Maybe try another brand Jennifer, some are saltier than others

  24. Link says:

    I also have the Pixian Spicy Bean Paste, but it is too salty, so I can’t use as much of it as said in the recipe either. However, I still want it too be very spicy. What can I do?

  25. wuxiekeji says:

    Looks like this website stole your image (click “Friday”)

  26. wenxin says:

    How many people does this recipe serves

  27. Pingback:Meatless Monday: Mapo Tofu | For the Love of Food

  28. Hi,
    I have a 15-year old son from Chengdu, adopted a little over a year ago. He still misses his Chengdu foods, though I try to make them. Can you tell me what I could substitute for the fermented black beans? I can get a can of regular black beans; is that the same thing? I don’t live near an Asian grocery store.
    If you could respond fairly soon, that would be great!

    • Regular black beans will not work. Try, they might have fermented black beans.

      • Jeff says:

        I would love to try to make this at home! I’m tired of hunting for good mapo ever since the recent szechuan place went out of business :-( However, I, like a lot of westerners as above, am a little afraid – I don’t want to buy the wrong things! I was going to try and buy from amazon since I get free shipping. Do these look right? Also, what makes light soy sauce (lite = low sodium, or another difference?)

        Ajika Sichuan Peppercorns Chinese Pepper, 2.5-Ounce

        Sichuan / Pixian / Pi Xian Broad Bean Paste 16OZ (454g)

        Pearl River Bridge Superior Light Soy Sauce – Pearl River Bridge

        Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chili Oil

        Fermented Black Beans by Hoosier Hill Farm, 1.5 Lb. Jar – Hoosier Hill Farm

        Thanks for posting this!

  29. Ron says:

    Yummy Yummy fill my tummy

  30. Jon B says:

    I absolutely love your Nonya recipes. Several year of living in Singapore with meals regularly taken at gourmet place as Orchard Rd Car Park, Albert Street and Newton Circus. Whenever I can I try to duplicate those flavors this leads me to a questin: when you call for “chili powder”, what exactly do you mean”. There are several choices: chili powder as is used in Mexican cuisine (usually a mix of long red, ancho & pasilla chilis; cayenne and straight red pepper powder from dried long reds. In the quantities called for in most Asian recipes cayenne is way too much, the Mexican powder probably does not offer the right flavor leaving only red pepper powder or so it seems.

    What ami missing?

    Thanks much.

    Terimah kaso


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