Mapo Tofu

Serve with rice. Goes well with a ruby beer.

Content

Ingredient Amount
Ginger A big thumb
Garlic As much as you have ginger
Sichuan pepper 1 table spoon
Doubanjiang 2 table spoons
Douchi 1 decilitre
Spring onion Half a dozen
Light soy sauce To taste
Shiitake mushrooms Two handfulls
Vegetable stock 0.5 litres
Soft tofu 400 grams
Salt 0.5 teaspoon
Rice/tapioca/corn/etc flour 1 teaspoon
Water 2 teaspoons + what you need for the tofu
Peanut/rapeseed oil A splash
(Optional) MSG 0.5 teaspoon
(Optional) Sesame seeds To taste

Notes

Silken tofu is too soft. Better to use firmer tofu if you can’t find soft.

I roast sesame seeds and sichuan pepper (separately) to have them ready for when I cook mapo (among other coarses). It’s super easy to do and it’s nice to have at hand.

Sub the oil for what you have. Less flavor is good since we’re gonna infuse it.

Steps

Prep

1) Start pressing the tofu using your favorite tofu pressing method.
2) Peel and mince the ginger, garlic. Chop the white part of the spring onion. Add to the minced garlic and ginger. Set aside. Save the green part for later.
3) Chop the doubanjian if it’s chunky to make it less so. Add to a separate small bowl. Set aside.
4) Chop up the shiitake mushrooms in bite size chunks. Set aside. If you use dry shiitake and mix stock from bouillon you can do so using the soaking water for extra shiitake flavor.
5) Chop up the douchi to open up the beans. Set aside.

Tofu

1) Boil enough water to cover the (soon to be diced) tofu. Add 0.5 teaspoons of salt.
2) Dice the tofu and add to a suitable container.
3) Cover tofu in the boiled and salted water.
4) Let sit.

Sesame seeds

This is optional.

1) Add sesame seeds to a medium-high heat wok or pan.
2) Roast until golden brown.
3) Set aside.

Sichuan pepper

1) Separate the corns from twigs and thorns. Discard the latter.
2) Heat a wok or pan to medium-high heat.
3) Add the corns and move them around until they start to release their oil. You can tell by them leaving oily tails when you move them around.
4) Add the corns to a mortar and grind them to a find power.
5) Set aside.

Mapo Tofu

1) 滑锅! Set the wok to high heat. When piping hot, turn off the heat and coat by swirling with oil and let it pool in the bottom. Be generous.
2) Turn on the heat to medium. Add the chopped doubanjiang and move it around in the oil. We want the doubanjiang oils to release and mix with the oil so that it turns red. It should take just over a minute but may vary depending on heat.
3) Add the ginger, garlic and white spring onion part. Stir until they deepen in color and enjoy the smell.
4) This is where I like to add some MSG but feel free to skip.
5) Add the shiitake and keep stirring until it gets a nice surface.
6) Add the douchi. Stir another minute or two.
7) Add stock until your mapo is sauncy. Let it simmer.
8) If it’s not too salty I like to add some light soy sauce on this step.
9) Drain and add the tofu. When you stir now you must be careful not to break the tofu chunks. Xi forbid you eat a broken piece of tofu.
10) Mix the rice (or other) flour with water to a slurry and add a bit at a time to the saucy mapo. Our goal is to make the sauce thicker so keep mixing and adding slurries until you’re satisfied with the viscosity.
11) Chop up the green parts of the spring onion.
12) Turn off the heat and sprinkle the ground sichuan pepper over your mapo tofu to give it the mala flavor profile we’re chasing.
13) When serving, sprinkle some green spring onion and roasted sesame seeds over the mapo.