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a plate with spicy mapo tofu with minced beef, sprinkled with green parts of spring onion

chinese spicy mapo tofu

  • Author: Christiane
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


Spicy tofu from China! Soft and delicious tofu cubes immersed in a fiery sauce full of chili, Sichuan pepper and a little bit of minced beef.



Serving 2 as a full meal or more as part of a Chinese dinner with several shared dishes

400g tofu, cubed

50g minced beef (you can also use pork)

12 tsp chili paste (or chili bean paste if available) – use smaller amount for a milder flavour, and more if you like it really spicy

12 mid-sized dried chilies, finely chopped – use smaller amount for a milder spiciness or more if you like it fiery hot. De-seed chilies for reduced heat; if you use the seeds, your tofu will be a lot spicier than without the seeds.

1 garlic clove, sliced

1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (preferably the greenish-black kind)

12 sprigs of spring onion, chopped – white and green parts separated

1 tsp dark soy sauce or tamari

rapeseed oil for frying

water to add to the sauce and to boil the tofu


  1. Put oil to medium heat in a wok, and quickly fry the Sichuan peppercorns and chilies until fragrant. This will be quick, so be careful not to burn them. Set aside to cool.
  2. Swipe the wok clean and bring salted water to the boil on medium heat. You need enough water to cover the tofu cubes. Carefully slip in the tofu cubes and cook them for 2-3 minutes. If they aren’t covered by the water, add a little bit more. Do not cook the tofu for too long! Drain and set aside.
  3. Dry the wok and put it on low heat, adding oil. Put in the ginger, garlic, white parts of spring onion and minced meat with a pinch of salt. Stir-fry for a few minutes. Then, gently shove the mix up the sides of your wok to form an empty circle in the middle. Add another dollop of oil into the empty circle. Once it’s hot, put your chili paste into this oil and stir for 10-20 seconds. Then swirl the paste into the mix and add your previously fried Sichuan pepper and chilies. Mix everything well and keep the heat low.
  4. Stir in about 100ml of water and then add the tofu cubes to the wok. Stir a bit and add a teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari.
  5. Bring to the boil again briefly and then immediately reduce the heat. Keep simmering tofu a short while. Add more water if the mix gets too dry. You will want to retain a little bit of saucy liquid. Taste it and add a bit more soy sauce if you need more umami. Done!
  6. Fill tofu into a deep serving plate and sprinkle with green parts of your spring onion. Serve with cauliflower rice.


Sub beef for the same amount of vegan mince or finely chopped brown mushrooms for a plant-based meal! Prepare it in exactly the same fashion by adding the mushrooms when you’d otherwise add the meat.

  • Category: meals
  • Method: stir fry and simmer
  • Cuisine: Chinese


  • Serving Size: 1 portion
  • Calories: 350
  • Fat: 25.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.3g net carbs
  • Protein: 24.1g