This mapo tofu recipe resembles the Japanese version (麻婆豆腐) which is sweeter and not as spicy as compared to the authentic mapo tofu from Sichuan, China. A 15 minutes recipe, mapo tofu is a quick, flavourful and delicious dish to prepare on a busy day.
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.
Vegetarian or vegan mapo tofu
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.