My Best Mapo Tofu Recipe and Tips

Boris Mann 14th September 2021 at 5:02am

My friends and I even ate at the original mapo tofu restaurant, only to be disappointed with an imbalance of flavors – too much spicy heat to the point where you couldn't taste anything, and it was super oily like a lot of food in mainland China. Sichuan food is about balancing flavors, we were told over and over. It's not about blowing out your taste buds.

  • 14 to 16 ounces medium or medium-firm tofu
  • 1 generous teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 ounces ground beef or pork, fattier kind preferred, roughly chopped to loosen
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes, optional
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, optional
  • 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons chile bean sauce, Pixian kind preferred
  • 1 generous teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons regular soy sauce
  • Salt
  • 2 large green onions, white and green parts, cut on the diagonal into pieces about 1 1/2 inches long
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water