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Mapo Doufu

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"This is one of those extremely simple recipes that is a staple of its culture, yet it is so difficult to find an authentic recipe. I received this from someone who was born and raised in Sichuan province. Serve with fresh steamed white rice."
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27 m servings 260
Original recipe yields 4 servings


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  1. Place red pepper flakes in a small bowl of hot water. Let soak until softened.
  2. Heat a wok over medium-high heat until very hot; pour in oil. Add peppercorns; toss briefly until aromatic. Add garlic; stir until aromatic, 10 to 15 seconds. Add ground pork; saute until until browned and crumbly, about 2 minutes.
  3. Mix doubanjiang and red chile flakes into the pork mixture. Let simmer for about 1 minute. Add tofu and water; gently stir to coat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; let simmer until flavors meld, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and toss in green onions.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • Peanut oil may be substituted for the soybean oil.
  • You can use ground beef instead of ground pork if desired.
  • Sichuan peppercorn is a rust-colored casing of a type of citrus fruit from China. It creates a unique sensation on the tongue and lips. It also mutes the piquancy of a dish, so more flavor comes through. Its flavor is lightly floral, citrus, and pine. Though there is no substitute for the sensation of the peppercorn, you can mimic the flavor with a mixture of coriander and cumin powder in a 2:1 ratio. When grinding the peppercorn, make sure there are no hard black seeds inside the peppercorn. They give the dish a gritty texture.
  • Doubanjiang is a red-colored sauce usually labeled 'chili-bean paste' and is very easy to get at any Asian grocery. Lee Kum Kee® makes a good paste and is widely available. They also make a 'Ma Po Sauce,' which is more or less the same and can be used in the same way.
  • You can reduce the oil if you are worried about the fat content, but it does have a purpose as a carrier for the chili flakes and Sichuan peppercorn, and it coats the mouth.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 260 calories; 21 7.9 12.6 18 604 Full nutrition

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