Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu

I know how many of you like to order your favorite Chinese take-out or dining in. We get those cravings for it! One of the many popular Chinese dishes that is usually on the menu is mapo tofu. It’s a pork and tofu dish made up of a black bean and sambal hot sauce served with a bowl of rice. Yes, that’s right! It’s made up of two main ingredients, and yes with Chinese food you can expect there to also be oyster sauce and soy sauce to go along with the recipe.

Mapo Tofu Recipe

  • Yields 4-6 small servings


  • 8 oz of ground pork
  • 1 container of medium firm tofu
  • 1-2 tsp sambal chili hot paste
  • 2 tablespoons black bean garlic paste (or black bean paste then add your own garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch or tapioca starch

Hand on the hand the following:

  • a bottle of cooking oil (e.g. canola or vegetable oil)
  • white pepper
  • kosher salt


  • A wok
  • spatula


Take a pairing knife, and slice the tofu into square cubes inside the container that it came in. Make sure you slice deep enough to get down to the bottom of the tofu in the container. Set aside in the container for later use.

Next, chop up the green scallion and set it aside in a bowl.

Now it’s time to get the seasoning and flavoring together for the sauce.

Take a small dish and set aside 3 tablespoons of black bean garlic paste and 1 tsp of sambal hot sauce. You can adjust all of these flavors to your taste. If you want your dish to be spicier, feel free to adjust the amount of hot sauce.

Then, set aside a small dish of kosher salt and black pepper.


Put your wok on med-high heat. Let it warm up for a minute or two. Once warmed, toss in some cooking oil and coat the wok thoroughly. Put the ground pork into the wok. Break it up with your spatula, and let it cook for approximately two minutes covered with a lid. After two minutes, remove cover, and stir the ground pork again to make sure everything is cooked through. Make sure that there is no more pink in the meat. It should be lightly browned.

Next add your tofu. Toss in the black been garlic paste and sambal hot sauce. Mix the ingredients together and then cover the wok again. Lower the heat to med-low heat. Let the dish cook for a few minutes.

Time to make more gravy for the mapo tofu dish.

Take 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch or corn starch. Dissolve the starch in approximately 3 tablespoons of water or less.  Be sure not to drown the starch in water. Mix the gravy in the bowl, and add a little bit of light soy sauce to the starch to make the soy sauce thicker. This also adds some flavor!

Uncover the wok and toss in the soy sauce starch mixture. Let it bubble up by turning up the heat to medium-high heat once again. The starch will thicken after it boils, and when it cools down.

At this point, add 2 squirts of light soy sauce, 2 squirts of dark soy sauce, and 1-2 tablespoons of oyster sauce. Sprinkle in about three pinches of kosher salt and black pepper. Give it a quick stir.

Taste the dish once you get the mapo tofu to your liking. Add the chopped green onions into the wok and mix it well. Turn off the heat and then you can go ahead and plate the dish. Serve with hot white rice. Enjoy it! You worked hard to make this dish so be proud of it!

4 thoughts on “Mapo Tofu”

  • LOL! This was much better!!! Not as much mumbling, Kimberly Chee is HILARIOUS! I love the sounds effects for the “stabbing” of the tofu packet, and such.

  • I actually pre-marinate the meat first before adding the sauce. I find that the meat is more tender. When I brown it, I only cook it half-way, then take it out, cook the tofu with the sauce separately until the tofu absorb all the flavor, then add the meat back in. I also saw on HK cooking shows that you can add the slurry after turning off the heat and it thickens instantly. I’ve been doing that and it works out great. I also add “ja choi” (preserved mustard) to my recipe.

    It’s good to mention on the show that people have different ways to make mapo tofu. You can suggest other types of sauce, like the ready-to-cook Lee Kam Kee mapo tofu sauce, etc.