Vegan Mapo Tofu Recipe
YIELD : 2 1/2 Cups
- 1 package Mori-Nu Plus Fortified Tofu, cubed
- 3 cups water
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 6 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems separated and caps finely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 small dried red chilis, seeded, finely chopped
- 2 tsp freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp whole fermented black beans (douchi)
- 1 1/2 tbsp Sichuan broad bean chili paste (doubanjiang)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- Cornstarch slurry (1 tsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp cold water)
- 1 stalk scallions, sliced, divided
- In a medium saucepan, bring water, salt, and shiitake stems to a boil, then reduce heat and carefully add tofu cubes. Let simmer gently while preparing steps 2-5. Do not stir.
- In a wok or large skillet over medium-low heat, add vegetable oil. Once hot, add chilis and Sichuan peppercorns, then stir to infuse the oil for 1 minute.
- Add garlic, ginger, and fermented black beans, then stir until fragrant for 1 minute.
- Add shiitake mushroom caps and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Increase heat as necessary.
- Add broad bean chili paste, sesame oil, and sugar, then stir together for 1 minute.
- From the shiitake-tofu saucepan, carefully scoop about 1 cup of broth, discarding any stems and leaving the tofu in the saucepan. Add broth to the wok/skillet, then stir. Add more broth if desired. It will thicken in the next step.
- Whisk the cornstarch slurry, then immediately add to the wok/skillet, stirring to evenly disperse. Sauce will thicken after 1-2 minutes. Add more cornstarch slurry if a thicker sauce is desired.
- Add most of the sliced scallions to the sauce (save some green slices for garnish), then stir.
- Turn off heat for the shiitake-tofu saucepan, then carefully scoop out all tofu cubes with a slotted spoon (discarding any stems) and add to the wok/skillet. Gently fold tofu cubes into the sauce, being mindful to not break them.
- Remove from heat, serve with rice, and garnish with green sliced scallions.
- Mise en place is crucial for this tofu recipe — it goes fast and some ingredients can taste bitter if burned. Prepare all ingredients ahead of time and sort them into small prep bowls in order of the steps.
- Silken tofu is simmered in a lightly salted mushroom broth so that it can be heated through and flavored before folding into the sauce. This method requires less handling of the tofu once it's in the sauce and ensures intact tofu cubes with the soft, silken texture that mapo tofu is known for. A shortcut would be skipping the mushroom broth (replacing it with plain water in step 6) and heating the tofu cubes directly in the sauce (step 9).
- Traditional mapo tofu has fat from ground pork, but this vegan version uses vegetable oil and sesame oil to enhance the flavor and texture. Skipping the oil is not recommended, but less may be used if desired.
- This recipe creates a very spicy, salty, and flavorful Vegan Mapo Tofu, but it can be adjusted in either direction to your preference:
- Spice levels can be adjusted with three ingredients: dried red chilis, Sichuan peppercorns, and Sichuan broad bean chili paste. The first two add heat only, whereas the Sichuan broad bean chili paste adds salt.
- Use freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns if possible, as this will create the most authentic, tingling, spicy mouthfeel that Sichuan food aficionados desire!
- For those who like it extra spicy, a bit of freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns can be served on the side for sprinkling.
- Saltiness can be adjusted with two ingredients: fermented black beans and Sichuan broad bean chili paste (which also adds heat). These ingredients — also known as "douchi" and "doubanjiang," respectively — are important to Sichuan cooking, so do not leave them out completely.
- PLANT-BASED: This Vegan Mapo Tofu recipe uses shiitake mushrooms in place of ground pork, without sacrificing all the layers of flavor and spice that authentic mapo tofu recipes have. We also use Mori-Nu Plus Fortified Tofu, a complete protein source that provides all nine essential amino acids.
- GLUTEN-FREE: Mori-Nu Plus Fortified Tofu is Certified Gluten-Free! Check labels on other ingredients.