Mapo Tofu Recipe Inspired By Maangchi

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Mapo tofu is a legendary Sichuan dish that tantalizes taste buds with its complex flavors and textures. Spicy, savory, and slightly numbing, it’s a symphony of contrasts in every bite.

This recipe, inspired by the renowned Korean chef Maangchi, stays true to the essence of mapo tofu while offering clear and easy-to-follow instructions.

Korean-style mapo tofu (Mapadubu: 마파두부)
Korean-style mapo tofu (Mapadubu: 마파두부)

Ingredients:

Protein:

  • 1 pound ground pork (or ground chicken, turkey, or vegetarian crumbles for a meatless option)
  • Aromatics:
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts separated and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • Sichuan Spice:
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon dried red chili flakes (optional)
  • Liquids:
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or additional soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water (cornstarch slurry)
  • Tofu:
  • 1 (14-ounce) block firm tofu, drained and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Garnishes:
  • Chopped scallions (dark green parts)
  • Toasted Sichuan peppercorns (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Brown the Pork: Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned. Drain any excess fat.

    2. Release the Aromatics: Add the white parts of the scallions, garlic, and ginger to the wok. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, releasing their fragrant oils.

    3. Introduce the Spice: Stir in the Sichuan chili bean paste (doubanjiang) and cook for another minute, allowing the flavors to meld. Add the ground Sichuan peppercorns and red chili flakes (if using) and stir to combine.

    4. Simmer and Season: Pour in the chicken broth, water, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and light soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with additional soy sauce or a touch of sugar, if needed.

    5. Thicken the Sauce: Slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the simmering sauce. The sauce should thicken slightly within a minute.

    6. Gently Add Tofu: Carefully add the tofu cubes to the wok and stir gently to coat them in the sauce. Avoid breaking the tofu. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes, or until the tofu is heated through.

    7. Finishing Touches: Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped scallion greens. Garnish with additional chopped scallions and toasted Sichuan peppercorns (optional) for a final burst of flavor and aroma.

    8. Serve Immediately: Enjoy mapo tofu piping hot with steamed rice.

    Nutrition Facts:

    (Please note that this is an approximate nutritional breakdown and may vary depending on the specific ingredients used.)

    Serving size: 1 cup

  • Calories: 400-500
  • Fat: 20-25g
  • Saturated Fat: 5-7g
  • Protein: 30-35g
  • Carbs: 20-25g
  • Sodium: 800-1000mg (depending on the amount of soy sauce used)

  • Conclusion

    Mapo tofu is a dish that is both complex and satisfying. With its blend of heat, savory notes, and a touch of numbing Sichuan peppercorns, it’s a culinary adventure for your taste buds. This recipe provides a delicious and approachable way to experience this classic dish at home.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I make mapo tofu without Sichuan peppercorns?

    Yes, you can still enjoy mapo tofu without Sichuan peppercorns. However, it will lose its signature numbing quality. You can substitute with a pinch of black pepper for a touch of heat.

    2. What if I don’t have doubanjiang?

    Doubanjiang is a key ingredient in mapo tofu, but you can substitute with a combination of chili paste and fermented black bean paste to achieve a similar flavor profile.

    3. How can I adjust the spice level?