Mapo (aka Mahou) Tofu is one of the most well loved spicy Szechuan dishes that you can find in virtually every Chinese restaurant. Its intense aroma and strong flavors contrast sharply against the oft-thought soft and silky texture of Tofu, making this dish a staple piece to any menu claiming ancestry from the Szechuan cuisine.
The time has come! Secure your ingredients and put on an apron, in less than 30 minutes you will be able to savor the LEGENDARY, ONE AND ONLY, MAPOOOO TOFU !!!
Step 1: Ingredients
- ground pork: 200 g,
- tofu: 400 g (soft type preferred),
- garlic: 3 cloves,
- Thai chili pepper/facing heaven pepper: 2-4 based on preference,
- ginger: 2 grams,
- Szechuan pepper: a dozen seeds
Seasoning and other materials:
- water: roughly 2 L,
- cooking oil(canola/peanut oil): 7 teaspoons,
- salt: 1.5 teaspoon, soysauce: 2-3 teaspoons,
- corn/potato starch: 2 teaspoon,
- Chinese cooking wine: 4 teaspoon, if you can't find this, use 1:4 diluted vodka instead.
Tools that you'll need:
- a non-stick sauce pan or wok,
- a range-top pot,
- a sauce-pan shovel,
- a kitchen spoon,
- a few bowls and plates,
- measuring cup and spoons if you are uncertain with the portions.
Step 2: Step 1: Tofu Preparation and Cutting
- Cut the tofu first into 1 cm thick slices, then into 1 cm cubes.
- Add ~1 L water in to pot, place on range set to high, and emerge the tofu cubes in water.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt. While waiting for the water to boil, cut 4 thin slices of ginger, then chop into hair-like strips.
- Peel and slice each clove of garlic in half (like slicing a bagel), then chop into fine strips too.
- Slice each chili pepper in half, then chop into short 2 mm long pieces.
- After the water boils, turn off heat and remove the tofu cubes into a separate bowl.
Step 3: Step2: Preparation for Cooking
- In one cup of cold water, dissolve 2 teaspoon of starch, stir well until mixed and set aside for later use.
- Set aside another cup of cold/warm water
(If you are experienced with measuring oil by eye, you can skip to the next section):
- Set aside 5 teaspoons of cooking oil,
- Set aside 2-3 teaspoons of soy sauce,
- Set aside 4 teaspoons of Chinese cooking wine.
Step 4: Step 3: Cook the Meat
- Add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil (not from the previously set aside dish) to sauce pan, heat on high (10).
- Once the oil reaches over 100 degrees (test by dipping a slightly wet shovel into the oil, it should sizzle violently), add ground pork to the pan.
- Stir and stab the meat to get it separated thoroughly and cook evenly.
- Add Chinese cooking wine.
Step 5: Step 4: Bring It All Together
Once the pork turns light brown/dark yellow, set the range to medium (7) heat, push it to one side of the pan and add the previously set-aside oil to the other side.
Add in sequence: Szechuan pepper, chili pepper, ginger, and garlic. Allow 10 seconds in between each ingredient.
Wait for the garlic to turn lightly yellow, then quickly mix the meat with the spices.
Add tofu to the pan, mix, and then add soy sauce and half teaspoon of salt.
Add water until materials are 2/3 submerged (not the starched one).
Turn heat to high again. Let the water evaporate while mixing frequently. Most of the water should evaporate in 4-5 minutes.
Remix the starch water and add to the pan. Mix quickly. When the pan bubbles again, turn off range and your tofu is ready to serve!
(This dish goes perfect with a bowl of freshly cooked rice. You can start the rice cooker first and the rice will be ready just as you finish cooking.)