Recipe for Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐) - Bean Curd in Spicy Sichuan Chili Sauce

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  • About 2 Liters of Mapo Tofu
  • Preparation:
  • Cooking:


Beef Marinade:

  • 14g (1T) Sesame Oil
  • 9g (½T) Soy Sauce
  • 9g (½T) Oyster Sauce
  • 7g (½T) Shaoxing Wine (绍兴酒)
  • 2g (1t) ground Black Pepper
  • 2g (1t) ground Sichuan Peppercorn (花椒)
  • 4g (½T) Corn Starch
  • ¼g (⅛t) ground Star Anise
  • 300g (10½oz) Minced Beef

Tofu and Sauce:

  • 55-75g (3-4T) Píxiàn dòubànjiàng (郫县豆瓣酱)
  • 900g (32oz) Firm Tofu, room temperature
  • 27g (2T) Vegetable Oil
  • 25g (2-3T) finely minced Ginger, packed
  • 15g (5t) finely minced Garlic
  • 5g (1T) Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2g (1t) ground Sichuan Peppercorn (花椒)
  • 8g (2t) Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
  • 5g (1t) Chinese Black Vinegar (镇江香醋 - Zhenjiang Vinegar)
  • 9g (2t) Shaoxing Wine (绍兴酒)
  • 350g (1½ cups) Water
  • 16g (2T) Corn Starch

To Finish:

  • 2 medium chopped Scallions
  • Toasted and crushed Sichuan Peppercorn, optional


  • Mix together all of the beef marinade ingredients, then mix the beef with the marinade and set aside.
  • Finely chop the doubanjang and cut the tofu into ½-inch (1½cm) cubes.
  • On medium flame, heat the oil in a wok or a large pot. Cook the marinaded beef, using a spatula to break it up into smaller pieces. Once cooked, add the ginger and cook for about a minute, stirring continuously. Reduce the flame to low, and add the garlic. Cook for an additional minute.
  • Place the doubanjang into the wok and cook for about 3 minutes, making sure to stir well to keep it from burning. Throw in the pepper flakes, ground Sichuan peppercorn, sugar, and bouillon cube. Stir the mixture thoroughly.
  • Pour in the vinegar, Shaoxing wine, and most of the water, removing about 2T (30ml) into a small bowl. Bring the entire sauce to a boil.
  • Add the cut tofu, and simmer for 7-8 minutes, mixing carefully. Bring it to a strong simmer.
  • Mix the corn starch with the remaining 2T (30ml) of water, stream slowly into the mapo tofu, and again, mix gently. Heat until the mixture bubbles, then remove from the flame.
  • Finish with chopped scallions, and if desired, a couple dashes of crushed Sichuan peppercorn.
  • Serve with warm rice.

*Bunny Wisdom*

  • Píxiàn dòubànjiàng (郫县豆瓣酱) is a spicy broad bean paste from the Pixian region in Sichuan, which you can find in Chinese markets (it may take some searching).
  • Shaoxing wine (绍兴酒) can also be found at a Chinese market. Try to use drinking-grade Shaoxing wine if you can find it. Check the ingredients: if there is salt added, it is cooking-grade and not drinking-grade.
  • Zhenjiang vinegar (镇江香醋) and Sichuan Peppercorn (花椒) are also available in your local Chinese grocery store.
  • Just make sure you're stirring the mapo tofu constantly while the chilies are on heat so they don't burn, and stir slowly when the tofu is added to the mix, as the tofu can break apart.

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