The ever popular Sichuan Mapo Tofu! If you’re a bit on the fence about tofu, this is definitely one of the best ‘gateway tofu’ dishes. This dish is the “Mala” flavor profile, meaning that it’s going to feature a combination of heat and that characteristic numbing flavor of the Sichuan peppercorns.

This recipe is the real deal. A detailed ingredient list, recipe, and discussion are in a reddit comment here:

Recipe: Authentic Sichuan Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐) from Cooking

I’m Chris Thomas from the United States and I’ve been living as an expat in China now for upwards of nine years, most of which in Shenzhen. I love living here, and the food is absolutely incredible. I read and speak some Chinese, and have been trying to religiously recreate the most authentic versions of the food I’ve eaten and loved here.

My partner in these videos is Stephanie Li, my similarly food-and-travel-obsessed long term girlfriend. She’s a translator from Guangzhou and is an incredible home cook. Sometimes I’ll be behind the wok but usually it’ll be her cooking.


33 thoughts on “How to Make Authentic Chinese Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐)”

  1. Hey guys, we've had a couple people report issues with saltiness in our two recipes that call for doubanjiang (chili bean paste) – this and the Shuizhu. It always sucks to hear people having replication problems, and it's definitely our fault that we didn't go into this more. The unfortunate reality is that different brands of doubanjiang have different salinity – generally the less good ones are the ones that're really salty, which I imagine might be what you're buying if cooking this abroad. So before you get started cooking, first make sure that it's "Pixian" doubanjiang (the sort that's used in Sichuan cooking), and then – and I can't stress this enough – *taste your Doubanjiang*. If it's roughly as salty as soy sauce, you can use it as is in the recipe.

    If the doubanjiang's making your lips pucker, it's not ideal but you can still move forward. First, cut out the stock concentrate and just use plain water in the liquid. Second, cut your doubanjiang quantity from 1.5 tbsp to 1 tbsp.


  2. Are there any substitutes for sichuan peppercorns? I am having a very hard time finding them where I live, and I don’t have time to order them online. Are there any substitutes that would work well enough?

  3. love your videos – thank you so much! could you please recommend a replacement oil for CAIZIYOU? unrefined mustard oil?

  4. Note for anyone following this recipe in 2022, the quality of sichuan peppercorns in the US, has vastly improved: 1/2 tablespoon of 2022 peppercorns will give you masssive mala

  5. Ever watch Chuka Ichiban? Cooking Master Boy. This dish is the first duel although I really get goosebumps and impress by the Golden Fried Rice. Wanna see it irl.

  6. I've made this many times over the past few years, but today, I finally replicated it exactly. It was heaven. So flavorful. Disabling levels of spicy goodness. Thank you!

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