Mapo Tofu : Spicy, Savory, and Soft Chinese Tofu Recipes

mapo chinese tofu recipes

Mapo tofu, one of the most popular Chinese tofu recipes, is a favorite dish in many Chinese restaurants. This Szechuan tofu-based dish tastes spicy and savory and has a soft texture, a perfect match with warm rice. Of course, it is very suitable to be enjoyed on Lunar or Chinese New Year’s Day or other special occasions, or as a daily menu.


  • ½ cup oil, divided in half (¼ cup and ¼ cup)
  • 1-2 fresh Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced (buy here)
  • 6-8 dry red chilies, coarsely chopped (buy here)
  • 1/2- 1 tablespoon finely ground Sichuan peppercorns (buy here)
  • 3 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped (buy here)
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped (buy here)
  • 8 ounces (225g) ground pork (buy here) or chicken (buy here)
  • 1-2 tablespoons spicy peanut sauce, adjust to taste (buy here)
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock or water (buy here)
  • 1 pound (450g) extra firm silken tofu, diced (buy here)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (buy here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (buy here)

How to make Mapo Chinese Tofu

  • Heat a pan over low heat, add ¼ cup of oil. Fry the chilies, stir occasionally. We want to make roasted chili oil, but make sure the chili doesn’t burn.
  • After it smells good and the color is a bit black, remove and set aside the roasted chilies oil.
  • Heat the remaining ¼ cup of oil over medium heat. Add ginger. After about 1 minute, add the garlic. Stir briefly.
  • Set medium high heat, add ground pork or chicken. Sauté until cooked or golden.
  • Add Sichuan pepper powder, then stir for 15-30 seconds only. Make sure the pepper doesn’t burn, or the result will be bitter.
  • Add spicy peanut sauce and stir well. Add ⅔ cup of chicken stock or water, stir occasionally. Let it boil.
  • While waiting for it to boil, mix ¼ cup of water with cornstarch in a small bowl, stir.
  • Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and stir. Leave it until the sauce starts to thicken, don’t get too thick. If it’s too thick, add water or chicken stock to taste.
  • Add the roasted chili oil that was set aside earlier, stir until well blended.
  • Then add the tofu slowly, and stir well. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add sesame oil (optional), sugar (optional) and green onions, stir until green onions wilt. You can also use green onions as a garnish topping.
  • Remove and serve, enjoy your Mapu tofu!

Want to try other Chinese recipes besides the Chinese tofu recipes above? You will find many recipes like this in Chinese cookbooks. But if you are confused to choose, don’t worry because we have arranged it in “10 Best Chinese Cookbooks from Experienced Chefs

Mapo tofu recipe above is inspired by The Woks of Life recipes.