Mapo tofu is a typical Chinese dish from Sichuan, China. Depending on the countries, the taste and recipe of mapo tofu were adapted to suit the palate of the locals. In Malaysia, we enjoy mapo tofu as well. I personally love this dish because of the delicious gravy and most importantly, it is cooked using tofu as the main ingredient.
The original Mapo tofu from Sichuan is not only spicy but also gives off a numbing effect which is contributed by the spiciness of the famous Sichuan pepper. However, it is not common to have Sichuan pepper in Malaysian meals. Thus, it is no surprise that in Malaysia, Sichuan pepper is omitted from Mapo tofu. As I had been cooking this dish for years now, I had adjusted the recipe to be slightly sweeter while keeping it lightly spicy. I now have this dish often because of its simplicity in preparation.
In this recipe, I used meat. Opt for a vegan version of Mapo tofu by omitting meat and replacing with mushroom. Preparation is very simple. To prepare vegan Mapo tofu, use double the amount of shiitake mushrooms to replace the meat. It tastes exceptionally great as the mushroom flavour goes really well with that of the chili bean sauce. In fact, I enjoy the vegan version most of the time as I try to abstain from meat as much as possible, especially during dinner. Serve this dish with rice and some fresh scallions as garnishing.
Mapo Tofu is also known as: Mapo Doufu麻婆豆腐マーボー豆腐
Add oil into a preheated pan. Sauté ginger and garlic until fragrant and then add pork. Once pork is almost cooked, add shiitake mushrooms and chilli bean paste into the pan. Continue to sauté the ingredients for a minute.
Add water to the pan and increase the heat to allow the gravy to boil. Then, add ketchup. Once gravy begins to boil, add diced tofu. Allow dish to continue cooking for about 4 minutes.
Thicken gravy by adding cornflour slurry (a mixture of corn flour and water). Add salt and sugar to taste. Then, add scallions. Turn off the stove and lightly stir the dish before dishing out.