mapo tofu

Adapted from China Sichuan Food.


  • 450g soft tofu (between silken and firm)
  • 100g meatless “beef” crumbles (Gardein is my favorite)
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp doubanjiang (I use Lee Kum Kee Toban Djan)
  • 1/2 tbsp fermented black beans, finely chopped
  • optional: 1/2 – 1 tbsp red pepper flakes (add to your own spice liking)
  • optional: 1/2 tsp salt (taste for this before adding- some doubanjiang is saltier than others)
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 400ml water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 scallion whites, finely chopped
  • 4 scallion greens, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • optional: ~1 tsp honey, to reduce spiciness
  • cornstarch + water


  1. Add a small pinch of salt and sesame oil to (still frozen) beefless grounds. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Mix 1 tbsp cornstarch with 2 ½ tablespoons of water in a small bowl to make thickener.
  3. Cut tofu into square cubes. Bring a large amount of water to a boil and then add a pinch of salt. Slide the tofu in and cook for 1-2 minutes. Move out and drain.
  4. Heat oil in a wok. Once faintly smoking, fry the “beef” until crispy, a couple minutes. Strain the “beef” out, leaving as much oil as possible.
  5. Fry doubanjiang for 1 minute over low-medium heat. Add garlic, scallion whites, ginger and fermented black beans, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add optional red pepper flakes.
  6. Add 400 ml water and bring to boil over high heat. Gently slide in the tofu cubes. Add soy sauce and “beef”. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Add half the scallion greens.
  7. Stir in the cornstarch water. Taste and add salt and/or honey if desired.
  8. Transfer out when almost all the seasonings stick to tofu cubes. Top with remaining scallion greens.
  9. Serve immediately with steamed rice (or in my case, cauliflower rice!)

Serves 2.

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