Mapo tofu is one of the most popular dishes from China’s Sichuan Province, a region known for its distinctive spicy cuisine. The main ingredient is tofu and is cooked in a spicy, chili and bean-based sauce that brings a beautiful bright red color to the dish. Replacing meat with mushrooms like shiitake, oyster, and king oysters is an easy way to make it vegan without sacrificing flavor. For the best texture, use soft tofu rather than firm, taking care to cook it gently to prevent crumbling.
1 lb silken or soft tofu
3 sprigs of scallion
½ lb mushrooms (oyster, shitake, king)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 inch knob of ginger
1 tbps Sichuan pepper
3 dried red chili
3 tbsp black bean chili sauce
3 tbsp chili sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup of water
- Toast 1 tbsp of Sichuan pepper and 3 red chilies. Roasting helps bring out the flavors that will later make the dish pop. When cool, grind to a fine powder.
- Chop the leek, scallions, garlic, and ginger. Place the mushrooms into a food processor or blender to give them an ultra-fine chop.
- Set your pain on low heat; add olive oil, next, add sesame oil. When warm, add the black bean chili sauce and give it a stir. Mix in chili sauce. For good air circulation, turn on your kitchen fan in this step!
- Once combined, add the chopped garlic and ginger and incorporate. Then, add the ground Sichuan pepper.
- Next, add veggies and saute them. Add the mushrooms, being careful not to overcook them.
- Finally, gently cut your tofu into cubes; add it to your pan gently.
- Lower the heat on your pan, adding a cup of water. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- For a creamier texture, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with a bit of water and then add it to your pan. Mix carefully, not disturbing the tofu.
- Keep for 3 minutes on low heat. Plate and eat!