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Recipe (5): Mapo Toufu

Updated on August 20, 2012

This is another famous Sichuan Chinese dish. Because the lady who invented it had pits on her face, which are called "Ma" spots in Chinese, people called the dish "Mapo", i.e. the lady with pits on her face. Mapo lived in late Qing Dynasty, Her husband died when they were still young. Then, Mapo started a small restaurant, which was nearby a bridge. Often, vendors and soldiers passed through the bridge, and they went to the restaurant for rest. Some vendors of oil usually bought some raw Toufu and beef, and took some oil of their own, then asked the landlady to cook for them. With time, Mapo developed a delicious Toufu dish, which became popular and people sent it the name of "Mapo Toufu". The major characeristic of the dish is hot and spicy.


Toufu (i.e. bean curd) was invented by a prince in 164 B.C. The prince was interested in alchemy. Once a day, he accidentally put plaster into hot bean milk, then the milk condensed. With development, it has become the smooth and fresh daily food, and we call it "toufu", which is actually from Japanese pronunciation, and in Chinese should be "doufu" (dou means the bean). In 8th century, toufu food and producing technique were brought into Japan by Jianzhen Master. In 1665, one of members of Ordo Dominicanorum, Domingo Fernández de Navarrete, first time introduced the food to European, but toufu was not familiar to western people until the late of 20th century. Nowadays, toufu has been one of necessary daily food in China and neighbouring countries, including Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The main ingredient to produce toufu is beans, usually soybeans, and people also use mung, or white peas, or green peas, etc. So, toufu is rich in protein and low in fat, and thus help to lower blood pressure and blood lipids. The follow is the approximate amount of nutrition in 100g bean curd.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 people
Calories 81
Calories from Fat36
% Daily Value *
Fat 4 g6%
Carbohydrates 4 g1%
Fiber 1 g4%
Protein 8 g16%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


  • 400 g tender Toufu, cubed with 2cm size
  • 50 g ground beef
  • 30 g garlic sprouts, chopped
  • 5 g coriander, chopped
  • 1 g Chinese prickly ash
  • 15 g soy sauce
  • 30 g bean paste
  • 20 g lobster sauce
  • 2 g salt
  • 2 g chicken powder
  • 10 g cooking wine
  • 20 g garlic, chopped
  • 300 ml meat soup or water
  • appropriate amount water starch
  • 30 g peanut oil


  1. marinate toufu in slightly salty water for 15 minutes and dish up (dealing with in this way can remain toufu fresh and non-broken)
  2. put peanut oil in a heated frying-pan, and add in ground beef,stir frying
  3. when the beef changes color, add in bean paste and stir fry
  4. when fragrant, add in lobster sauce and stir-fry
  5. add in garlic and cooking wine
  6. when fragrant, add in soup or water
  7. when boiling, add in soy sauce and salt
  8. add in toufu to boil for 3-5 minutes, then add in chicken powder
  9. add in water starch until condensed. Note: keep stirring slowly to avoid the starch stuck on the pan
  10. dish up and spray Chinese prickly ash, garlic sprouts and coriander, if you like

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: Serve 4 people

Mapo Toufu

5 stars from 3 ratings of Mapo Toufu

Note: chicken powder and aginomoto are two main seasonings in Chinese cooking. Chicken powder is made of dehydrated chicken meat and really savory. Aginomoto is savory and popular either, but for knowledge, it rouses materials that can cause cancers when heated. People still like it. So what? Barbecue is still popular, even people know cancer-caused elements in it. But my mum and I only use aginomoto in cold salad.


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    • Hui (蕙) profile imageAUTHOR

      Hui (蕙) 

      6 years ago

      Dubu sounds fun. Thanks, Andy. Have a nice day! And by the way, did you cast your vote at the 5 stars part? Please, and thanks again!

    • profile image

      Andy Chongchin Kim 

      6 years ago

      I love Sichuan Food because it is spicy. Tofu in Korean is Dubu.


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