Mapo Tofu with Minced Meat

A non-spicy take on the incredibly flavourful Sichuan-style Mapo Tofu. 

Mapo Tofu Recipe

Ok before anyone screams at me, this is by no means authentic but it is insanely tasty. Come to think of it, maybe I should name this dish something else, but oh well. Mapo Tofu is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province, most well known for their hot and spicy flavour. As you can probably guess from the name, Sichuan Peppercorn is surprise surprise, from Sichuan – it gives dishes a unique “numbing” effect. There’s actually a theory that these peppercorns numb your tongue so that you can take more heat. 

Mapo Tofu Recipe

Anyway, I’m not a massive fan of the numbing spiciness hence I’ve adapted this Mapo Tofu recipe for a quick and easy non-spicy meal. It’s comforting, hearty, tasty and most importantly, all in one pot! 

Mapo Tofu Recipe

Mapo Tofu with Minced Meat (Non-Spicy)

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Ingredients

  • Neutral oil
  • 250g minced pork or turkey
  • 1 jalapeño (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 spring onions, chopped (plus more for serving)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (or Sichuan pepper if you like the numbing nutty aroma)
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce
  • 600g medium firm tofu, cubed
  • 3/4 tablespoon corn starch
  • 4 cups cooked white rice

Instructions

1

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the minced pork, break it up and cook undisturbed until browned, for about 5-8 minutes. Add jalapeño (if using), garlic, ginger and spring onions and cook, stirring often until softened and fragrant - this should take about 3 minutes.

2

Add tomato paste and black/Sichuan pepper and stir to mix. Let it cook for a minute until the paste darkens slightly in colour. Add in the black bean garlic sauce and mix well.

3

Spread tofu evenly over the pork mixture, pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer (Note 1). Bring down the heat to low and let it cook, covered, for 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly.

4

In a separate bowl, mix the corn starch with equal part water and swirl it into the pot. Gently stir a few times until the sauce thickens (really be gentle otherwise the tofu will break apart). Turn off heat and transfer to a bowl.

5

Garnish with spring onion and serve over warm rice.

Notes

Do not stir the tofu immediately after adding it into the pot to prevent the pieces from breaking apart. The tofu will get firmer after awhile and you can stir it once its cooked.

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