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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu such a tasty dish! Ever since I tried it last fall I've been wanting to recreate it at home. For such an easy meal, I don't know what took me so long to take that leap.

I've only seen it listed on a few restaurant menus and if it hadn't been for one of my friends insisting I try some at Xi'an Gourmet House (Duluth, GA) I may have gone my whole life without appreciating this amazing dish. The key elements to Mapo Tofu are minced meat, silken tofu, and a fermented chili bean paste otherwise known as Doubanjiang. It is a spicy dish, which is common for foods from the Sichuan region. It can be toned down however, I encourage you to turn the heat up. It's worth it!

Mapo Tofu

Full disclosure, this is the first time I've made this meal. In the future I would definitely add the tofu at the very last second. Silken tofu is delicate and did not hold its shape well for me. It didn't matter so much in terms of flavor, but the aesthetic really could have popped if the tofu was cubed and not so scrambled. Speaking of tofu, this is a great dish if you're new to the whole tofu eating thing. My husband Cody and I don't eat tofu on the regular, it's just not really our thing. However, in this dish we simply cannot get enough! Trust me, even if you have had some bad experiences with tofu, they will melt away as you take your first mouthwatering bite.



Mapo Tofu


2-3lbs Ground Beef

Silken Tofu

Vegetable Scraps (Or vegetable broth)

Spicy Chili Bean Paste (Doubanjiang)

3 Cloves of minced Garlic

1 Tb grated Ginger

3-6 Dried Red Chili Peppers (whole)

3 Tb Soy Sauce

2 Tb Sesame Oil

1 Tb Cornstarch

Black Pepper


Make a quick vegetable broth by putting vegetable scraps into a cheesecloth, tying it and simmering it in water for about 10 minutes. While the stock is forming, cut the tofu into cubes. Once the stock is ready, take out the vegetables. Boil the tofu cubes for one minute and then set aside.

In a large pan, sauté the ground beef until it is browned. Remove the meat from the pan with a slotted spoon, reserve all the grease you can. In the same pan on medium heat, place the dried red chili peppers in the beef grease. Add the garlic, ginger, a few spoonfuls spicy chili bean paste, and a lot of black pepper. Stir the mixture. After a minute, add a few cups of the vegetable stock. Return the cooked beef to the pan along with the boiled tofu. In a separate small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch until the cornstarch has fully combined. Add the soy sauce mixture to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until slightly thickened.

Serve hot and with a side of rice.


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