Mapo tofu is a typical Chinese dish from Sichuan, China. Depending on the countries, the taste and recipe of mapo tofu is 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, tofu is used as the main ingredient.
The original mapo tofu from Sichuan is not only spicy but also gives off a numbing effect contributed by the spiciness of the famous Sichuan pepper. However, it is not common to include Sichuan pepper in Malaysian meals. Thus, it is no surprise that it is omitted from the mapo tofu served there. 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 delicious flavours and 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 it with mushrooms. 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 the chilli 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 with some fresh scallions as garnishing.