Mapo Tofu

(Last Updated on December 29, 2023 by Amiee)

It seems that mapo tofu is more famous than Chinese dishes. Many foreigners learn about Chinese food through Mapo tofu, not after knowing Chinese food. Anyway, it has conquered the hearts of countless people as one of the top ten classic dishes from sichuan cuisine.

There is also a legend about mapo tofu. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, there was a small restaurant next to the Wanfu Bridge in Chengdu. The proprietress had a pockmarked face, and people called her Chen Mapo.

In the first year of Tongzhi (1862), Chen Mapo received batch after batch of dock workers and people who carried the burden, and the ingredients in the store were running out. When it was about to close, another group of guests came in and asked the boss to cook something hot and cheap. Chen Mapo saw that there was no food in the store, only a few plates of tofu and a little minced beef were left. It was too late to go shopping now.

Chen Mapo is in a hurry, making a pot of delicious, spicy, hot, tender tofu out of  the existing ingredients and seasonings. That’s the famous mapo tofu which was well-received by the guests and has become the signature dish of this small shop.

The authentic method of mapo tofu, with more seasonings. What I did today is the simpler version. The minced meat is still the traditional ground beef not pork. A plate of mapo tofu is enough to consume several bowls of rice. Some people say that mapo tofu is the peak match of  eating rice, and it deserves it.

Mapo tofu

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 2


  • Wok for stir-frying
  • Pot for boiling


  • 500 gram tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 100 gram beef minced
  • 10 gram scallions,chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon spicy bean sauce
  • 2 teaspoon starch + 3 tablespoon water, mixed
  • 1 teaspoon pepper corn powder
  • 4 tablespon oil


  • Add enough water to a pot, blanching the tofu cubes for 2 minutes, transfer to a plate.
  • Add 4 tablespoon oil to the wok, heat over medium heat, add beef minced, stir-frying until cooked through
  • Add spicy bean sauce, stir-frying until mixed well
  • Add garlic chopped, stir-frying for seconds.
  • Add 5 tablespoon water or chicken stock, bring to a boil
  • Add blanched tofu, scallions, boiling for 1 minute, add pepper corn powder before turning off the fire.
  • Serve with rice.
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