Sichuan Mapo Tofu


When it comes to the global food scene, Sichuan cuisine is one of the big shots. Famous far and wide for its spice and heat, Sichuan dishes can sometimes feel like trying to scale a flavourful mountain. But don’t worry! As usual, I got you covered with the best recipes and authentic ingredients. This authentic Mapo Tofu recipe, made with real Sichuan peppercorns, will truly blow your mind and put your spice tolerance to the test.

Read on to learn about the dish's history and how to make it.

Mrs. Chen’s Mapo Tofu Recipe:

Mapo tofu is as intriguing as it is tasty! Legend has it that this spicy tofu recipe came from the genius of one Mrs. Chen, a beloved cook in the 1800s. The dish got its less than appetising name (‘ma’ meaning ‘pockmarks’ & ‘po’ meaning ‘elderly woman’) because of Mrs Chen’s pockmarked face. Regardless, mapo tofu quickly rose to fame for its irresistible blend of flavours.

What sets Sichuan cuisine apart is its dedication to bold, spicy flavours; mapo tofu is no exception. Made with soft tofu swimming in a spicy chilli and bean sauce, it's a dish that packs a punch in every bite.

When it comes to describing authentic mapo tofu, you'll need seven special characters: numbing, spicy, hot, fresh, tender, aromatic, and flaky. It's truly a flavour experience like no other.

So, if you're ready to embrace the heat of true Sichuan cuisine, this mapo tofu recipe is calling your name!

The Heart and Soul of Mala

Sichuan peppercorns have quite a reputation in Sichuan cuisine and around the world. These little guys might look like peppers, but they're actually berries from prickly ash trees. Harvested with care and dried under the sun, they develop a unique floral aroma that adds a special touch to Sichuan dishes.
But here's the kicker: instead of setting your mouth on fire like regular peppers, Sichuan peppercorns give you a delightful tingling sensation.

This magical ingredient is what gives Sichuan cuisine its signature málà flavour profile—spicy and numbing at the same time.

Fun fact: it's all thanks to Sichuan peppercorns that the Chinese can handle the heat of chilli peppers like champs!,/p>

Next time you're trying to shake things up in the kitchen, don't hesitate to reach for the Sichuan peppercorns!

Freshly Harvested Sichuan Peppercorns

Looking for those elusive Sichuan peppercorns in India? Chilzo has pledged to bring you flavours from around the globe, and we don't take our promises lightly. Straight from the red dragon itself, Chilzo’s Sichuan peppercorns are the result of a lot of labour and heaps of love.

Freshly harvested and dried, these peppercorns come directly from China, ensuring that you experience the finest and most authentic Chinese cuisine without stepping out of your home!

Grab yourself a handful of these peppercorns, whip up a batch of mapo tofu using this recipe, and get ready to be blown away!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time:
15 minutes
Total Time:
30 minutes

Onto the Recipe!

Ingredients you will require to make Sichuan Mapo Tofu:
  • 1 block of firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 tbsp Chilzo’s Chilli Oil
  • 2 tbsp Chilzo’s Black Bean Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Chilzo’s Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • Chilzo’s Chilli Garlic Sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Ground pork (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Follow these steps to make Sichuan Mapo Tofu in 30 minutes!

  1. Fire up your stove and in a large pan pour in some of Chilzo’s Chilli Oil. Once it's sizzling, toss in your minced garlic, ginger, and green onions. Sauté them for about 1-2 minutes until they're nice and aromatic.
  1. Now, if you're using ground pork, go ahead and add it to the pan. Cook until it's beautifully browned. Use your spoon to break it up into tasty little bits.
  2. Time to add our Chinese essentials. Stir in Chilzo’s Black Bean Sauce, soy sauce, and Chilzo’s Chilli Garlic Sauce. Let them mingle in the pan for another minute.
  3. Add those cubed tofu pieces to the pan and give them a gentle toss to coat them in that irresistible sauce.
  4. Pour in some chicken or vegetable broth and bring it to a gentle simmer. Let everything bubble together for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Bring in the star of not just this dish but of an entire province! Grab some ground Sichuan peppercorns. Sprinkle them in and give your concoction a taste. Add more peppercorns if you are feeling like it but be sure not to overdo it.
  6. Time for the plot to thicken! Stir in the cornstarch slurry and let the sauce work its magic. Cook for another minute until it's nice and thick, coating everything in savory goodness.

Your Sichuan Mapo Tofu is ready to shine. Serve it up hot over cooked rice (highly recommended) with some fresh cilantro leaves on top. Enjoy every delicious bite of your homemade Sichuan masterpiece!

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