Mapo tofu is a typical Chinese dish from Sichuan, China. As Sichuan province is known for spicy dishes, Mapo tofu is one dish that does not disappoint! Over the years, Mapo tofu became one of the many popular Chinese dishes that is found around the world.
Depending on the countries, the taste and recipe of Mapo tofu were adapted to suit the palate of the locals. In Malaysia, we enjoy Mapo tofu as well. I personally love this dish because of the delicious gravy and most importantly, it has one of my favourites which is tofu.
The original Mapo tofu from Sichuan is not only spicy but also gives off a numbing effect which is contributed by the spiciness of the famous Sichuan pepper. However, it is not common to have Sichuan pepper in Malaysian meals. Thus, it is no surprise that in Malaysia, Sichuan pepper is omitted from Mapo tofu. As I had been cooking Mapo tofu for years now, I had adjusted the recipe to be slightly sweeter while keeping it lightly spicy. I now have this dish every few days because of its simplicity.
In this video, I used meat. However, if you do not take meat, you may opt for a vegan version of Mapo tofu. Preparation is very simple. To prepare vegan Mapo tofu, use double the amount of shiitake mushrooms to replace the meat. It tastes exceptionally great as the mushroom flavour goes really well with that of the chilli bean sauce. In fact, I enjoy the vegan version most of the time as I try to abstain from meat as much as possible, especially during dinner. Serve this dish with rice and some fresh scallions as garnishing.