My Family's Recipe for Szechuan Mapo Tofu

My Family's Recipe for Szechuan Mapo Tofu

A lot of tips are included in this recipe (including references from a cook book). This is one of my family's favorite dishes.

Ingredients: 2 servings

Silken tofu
1 block
Pork shoulder (or ground pork)
120 g
Finely chopped Japanese leek
1/3 of a stalk
Garlic scape (or garlic leaves)
1 to 2 stalks
Chicken stock
about 1 cup - 200 ml
★ Douchi
1 tablespoon
★ Doubanjiang
about 1/2 tablespoon
★ Tianmianjiang
2 scant tablespoons
★ Sugar
2 pinches
Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon
Katakuriko slurry
abou 2 tablespoons of the flour
Sesame oil for finishing
1 teaspoon plus
Sansho Japanese pepper
to taste
Vinegar (optional)
2/3 teaspoon


1. Roughly grind up the fatty bits of pork in a food processor.
2. Chop up the leek roughly. Cut the garlic scape stems into 4 cmlong pieces.
3. In a pan, bring 500 ml of water to a boil, and add the tofu that's been cut into large chunks, as well as the garlic stems. Take the tofu and garlic steams out just before the water comes to a boils. Attention: if you boil the tofu for too long, it will lose the wobbly pudding-like texture.
4. Heat up a wok over high heat. When the wok is hot add oil, swirl it around and pour out. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok, and add the ground pork from Step 1 and stir fry. When the meat becomes crumbly, add the garlic scape and the ingredients marked with ★ and continue stir frying.
5. Pour in the chicken stock and stir the wok from the bottom so that you get all the flavor that's on the surface. Add the tofu from Step 3. Turn down the heat to low, add the Shaoxing wine, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
6. Dribble in the katakuriko slurry (2:1 water to katakuriko ratio) from a height, and in a round, circling motion. Swivel the wok and the ladle around at the same time.
7. When the sauce has thickened, add the vinegar and leek.
8. Turn the heat to high, and drizzle in sesame oil around the sides of the wok. Shake the wok so that the oil sinks to the bottom too. Add sansho pepper to taste.
9. Bon appetit.

Story Behind this Recipe

I referred to Chef Masaru Nakagawa's book, and made my own adaptations with vinegar, garlic scapes, sesame oil and doubanjiang. The original recipe called for firm tofu, but I wanted to use silken tofu, so I cut the tofu into pretty large pieces to account for it breaking up a bit, and that went very well.