Mapo Tofu

This hot and spicy Chinese dish is also very popular in Japan. It contains ground pork and tofu in spicy and aromatic chili sauce. Adjust the amount of chili paste and pepper you use to get the perfect flavor.

Mapo Tofu is a hot and spicy Szechuan dish that is also very popular in Japan.  It’s made with ground pork and tofu in a hot chili sauce.  My version is flavorful and not as spicy as some restaurants make it, but it is equally delicious.  Red Chili paste is a must with this dish.  I use a teaspoonful in this recipe, but you can add more to heat it up.  In Japan, sansho, which is a type of peppercorn that comes from Kyoto, is often used in place of black Szechuan peppercorns or add additional heat and flavor to the dish.  I use sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, onion and fermented black beans to help give this dish a very aromatic and authentic flavor.  I also will substitute white pepper for sansho if there is none readily available.

Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu is a hot and spicy dish that is stir fried in the wok and uses ground pork and tofu.  I like the tofu cubed, so use hard tofu (momen) which will hold its shape better when stirred in.  You can also use soft tofu (kinu), but be very careful when stirring to not break it up too much.  Eat this dish hot, topped with chopped scallion greens, and served over white rice.

15 mins Serves 4
PREP 15 mins
YIELD Serves 4


  • 1/2 lb ground pork (225g)
  • 3/4 lb package of tofu (330g)
  • 1 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp toubanjyan (red chili paste)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP of fermented Chinese black beans (15g) – black bean paste can be substituted
  • 1/2 onion chopped finely
  • 1 TBSP minced ginger root
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground sansho or white pepper
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP cooking sake
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (optional), to top


  • Cut the tofu into cubes using a butter knife.
  • Using a wok or non-stick frypan, brown the pork, onion and ginger together over high heat.

  • Add in all remaining ingredients, turn down to medium, and sauté for 3 minutes.

  • Add in the tofu and stir gently to combine.

  • Turn the heat up to medium high and sauté for 3 more minutes, occasionally stirring gently.

  • Serve over white rice.  Top with chopped green onion if desired.


Mapo Tofu is delicious served hot. Refrigerate any unused portion in an airtight container and reheat over the stove or in the microwave.



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