Mapo Tofu

22 Oct

All I’ve been wanting today is something spicy. Mouth-numbingly spicy. I want it to burn my lips, my mouth, my stomach. Mapo tofu is the only answer.

This isn’t a perfect recipe. It’s probably not true to the dish (mapo tofu usually had szechuan pepper) nor are the measurements perfect. When I make this I add what feel right. Sometimes I need more sugar. Sometimes I need more black beans. It’s one of those great pms-week dishes because it’s fiery and angry but can be sweet and salty.

A note on the black beans-I find these are the most important ingredient that make this dish authentic. I find mine at a local asian store. They look like little black raisins and they taste like super-concentrated soy sauce pouches.

And without further ado…


  • 16 oz medium firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 5-7 white buttom mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp fermented black beans
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil


  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp sambal oelek/chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tsp white pepper


1. Drain and press your tofu-wrap in a clean dish towel and place something heavy on top (teapot full of water) for about 30 minutes. Dice into 1″ cubes. Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes. Dice button mushrooms finely and mince garlic and ginger. Rehydrate fermented black beans-rinse, microwave for 2 minutes with 2 tbsp water, and drain. 

2. Combine sauce ingredients. Stir soy sauce, chili sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, and white sugar into the vegetable broth. If you’re using fresh chili, mince and combine withginger/garlic. If you’re smarter than me, wear plastic gloves, otherwise your fingertips will burn for hours.

3.Assemble all necessary ingredients for quick access while cooking. If you have a wok, use that-I’m just using a large saute pan.

4. Heat pan to medium high heat and add 2-3 tbsp canola oil and 1 tsp sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger. I sprinkle mine with a little dried chili pepper to infuse the oil with heat. Very optional.

5. Add Shiitake mushrooms and button mushrooms.

6. Add black beans after mushrooms have reduced.

7. Add tofu and saute for several minutes if you want a firmer texture. Toss to combine with mushrooms.

8. Add sauce and simmer for 3-6 minutes. When sauce has reduced to your liking, slowly add the cornstarch and water mixture, stirring to thicken.

9. Serve with lots of white rice.


5 Responses to “Mapo Tofu”

  1. Randi .... October 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    disturbed, by the mouth numbing thing..looks nice and vegan though 🙂

    • avocadosandales October 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

      It’s when your mouth is so on fire you can’t even feel it anymore. Also, it’s delicious.

  2. Asian Vegan Eats October 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    That looks so good. Just made my mouth watered….

    • avocadosandales October 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      Water will just make it burn more! I wish I had leftovers, this sounds really good right now.


  1. Mapo Eggplant | Avocados and Ales - November 3, 2014

    […] what inspired the recipe. I’ve expressed how much I love mapo tofu in my previous post and this dish runs a close second. I came up with this to use up our abundance of eggplant in our […]

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