Spicy Mala Tofu Recipe: A Flavorful Sichuan Delight to Spice Up Your Meal

Spicy Mala Tofu Recipe: A Flavorful Sichuan Delight to Spice Up Your Meal

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Mala tofu, also known as "mapo tofu," is a spicy and numbing Sichuan dish that features tofu and ground meat (usually pork or beef) cooked in a flavorful sauce made with Sichuan peppercorns and chili bean paste. Here's a basic recipe for mala tofu:


For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed and minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (adjust to taste)

For the Tofu:

  • 1 Block of Tung Lam Silken Box OR 4 pieces of Tofu Keras, cut into suitable size
  • 1/2 pound (225g) ground pork or beef
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cornstarch slurry (2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
  • Sliced green onions and cilantro for garnish


  1. Prepare the Tofu:

    • Cut the tofu into suitable size and set aside.
    • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and blanch the tofu for about 2 minutes. This helps remove any raw bean taste. Drain and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Sauce:

    • Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat.
    • Add the minced garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
    • Add the Sichuan doubanjiang (chili bean paste) and ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds to release their flavors.
    • If using fermented black beans, add them to the wok and stir-fry for a few more seconds.
    • Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and sugar. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cook the Tofu and Meat:

    • Gently slide the blanched tofu into the simmering sauce. Be careful not to break the tofu cubes.
    • In a separate pan, brown the ground pork or beef over medium-high heat until it's no longer pink and starts to crisp up.
    • Add the cooked meat to the simmering tofu and sauce. Stir gently to combine.
    • Let everything simmer for about 5-7 minutes, allowing the tofu to absorb the flavors. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit more broth to reach your desired consistency.
  4. Thicken the Sauce:

    • Stir in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Continue to cook for another minute until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Adjust Seasoning and Serve:

    • Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and sugar if needed.
    • Garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro.
Serve your mala tofu hot with steamed rice. Enjoy the spicy and numbing flavors of Sichuan cuisine!

23 Sep 2023