Go Back
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Mapo tofu

Mapo tofu is easy to make - well worth adding to your meal rotation. It comes from the Sichuan province of China; the tongue numbing qualities of sichuan pepper are a vital ingredient. While it is often served with meat, this is a shiitake mushroom version. For this you will need soft tofu ideally, but it is soaked in hot salty water for 15 minutes prior to cooking.
Course: Main Course, vegan main course, Vegetarian main course
Cuisine: Chinese food, sichuan food
Keyword: Chinese tofu recipe, Mapo tofu recipe, Tofu, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 5


  • 400 g box of soft tofu not silken
  • 5 soaked dried shiitake mushrooms, diced, keep water
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 400 g fresh shiitake mushroom, sliced thinly
  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsps groundnut or vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp fermented bean paste
  • 1 or 2 small red chillies, minced or a spoonful of chinese chilli paste
  • 1 tsp heaped sichuan peppercorns, finely ground
  • 2 tbsps soy or tamari sauce
  • 2 tbsp cornflour in 3 tbsps water, mixed into a slurry
  • 3/4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • large pinch fresh coriander leaves


  • Prepare the tofu by cutting it into one inch cubes and soaking it in hot but not boiling salted water. Drain after 15 minutes or more.
  • Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms, covering them in boiling water. Leave until the mushrooms are soft, then dice the mushrooms. Retain the mushroom soaking water and add it to the vegetable stock water.
  • Prepare the other ingredients so that they are ready to be stir-fried: red bell pepper, fresh mushrooms, ginger, garlic.
  • Using a wok or deep frying pan, add the oil and heat to frying temperature
  • Add the bell peppers,fry for a couple of minutes, then add fermented bean paste, chilli paste or chillies, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sichuan pepper.
  • Add the mushroom/vegetable broth and simmer on high for a couple of minutes.
  • Carefully add the cubes of tofu, taking care not to break them too much.
  • Add the cornflour slurry, stirring for a couple of minutes
  • Serve with rice or noodles, garnishing with spring onions or chives and or coriander leaves.