I love mapo tofu from a small child and my mother always cooked this at home with her self-made red oil doubanjiang (chili bean paste). This is a vegetarian version developed from the traditional mapo tofu recipe.
This year, when she visits me, I told her my keen love for the mother style spicy tofu dish. So I get a grift—a large jar of homemade red oil chili bean paste! If you want to know more about this homemade chili bean paste, please kindly check my post—doubangjiang (broad bean paste).
Am I talking about Mapo tofu, then why I go this far to doubanjiang? In fact, doubanjiang is the essential seasoning for making mapo tofu at home. You can find packages on amazon or your local stores. And the most famous brand is Pi Xian doubanjiang.
Usually mapo tofu is cooked with minced pork or sometimes with beef. I make this vegetarian version so that the vegetarian foods can also enjoy it. However I replace the meat part with chopped shitake mushrooms. Why I have to do that? Here is the story.
It is recorded that there is a couple who own a restaurant mainly selling vegetarian dishes. The wife also the cook gets some pock (麻子in Chinese)on her face. Her tofu dishes are quite popular among the guests. However some guests told her that they want to eat some meat rather than just tofu. So she bought some beef and cut it to granules and adding the beef into her tofu. Then the tofu dish with beef become more popular and her guests gave the name: Mapo tofu.
So I do not want to make this as a simply tofu dish and the chopped shitake mushroom can bring stronger aroma to the final dish.Ops, in case you may dig further into Chinese tofu, please check my post—tofu (bean curd).
Some important tips for ingredients and instruction listed below.
1. For the tofu, I recommend using regular tofu not firm tofu or silken tofu. The taste of firm tofu is not so tenderer but silken tofu is too easy to break. Choose the right type of tofu is a key point here.
2. Soak the tofu cubes in salted water can make the taste tenderer.
3. When stir-fry the tofu cubes, only back push the cubes otherwise the texture might be broken.
4. I use Sichuan peppercorn powder in this recipe, if you do not have some, replace it with the whole sichuan peppercorns or five-spicy powder.
Now let’s begin to make it.
Prepare the ingredients and cut them as below. Make a water starch for the sauce.
Stir-fry ginger, leek onion to stir fry firstly, and then chopped shitake mushrooms.
- 450 g regular tofu
- 6 middle size shitake mushroom , chopped into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon Doubanjiang , broad bean paste
- 1- inch section shallot white
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 inch ginger sliced
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon starch , tapioca or corn starch
Cut tofu into squares around 3 cm and chop washed shitake mushrooms. And then slice ginger, chop garlic and cut onion whites into small sections.
Prepare a container; pour some water with a little amount of salt. Then put the tofu cubes in to soak for about 12 minutes. Then move out and drain.
Prepare a small bowl, mix starch with water. Set aside.
Get a wok and heat up oil; add garlic, ginger and shallots in to stir fry until you can smell the aroma. Add the chopped mushrooms in and stir-fry until soft. Remove the mushrooms to one side of your wok.
Add Doubanjiang and Sichuan peppercorn powder; continue frying for 1 minute over slow fire.
Slide the tofu cubes in, add water and then add soy sauce cook. Simmer for 3 minutes. Toss your wok from time to time. Be gentle during the process and do not break the tofu cubes.
Add pinch of salt, mix well and serve hot. (You can also sprinkle some chopped spring onions)
Learn Chinese Via Chinese Food Menu
Mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐 má-pó-dòu-fu dòu-fu means tofu
doubanjiang 豆瓣酱 dòu-bàn-jiàng dòu-bàn(豆瓣) means broad bean jiàng(酱)means paste