Vegan Mapo Tofu (素麻婆豆腐)

Authentic Sichuan-Taiwanese Mapo Tofu, vegan-ized. It is spicy, numbing, pungent, and umami — easily the most hearty and fulfilling vegan dish I can think of.

Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐) is one of my favorite Sichuan-Taiwanese dishes. Growing up, I remember having (a non-vegan version of) this dish at every family gathering. This one, in particular, is a vegan version that I’ve tweaked to match the flavors that I picked up from those family gatherings.

An accompanying bowl of fluffy, freshly steamed rice is a must. Every time I make this dish, I’m always struck with regret because I hadn’t made more.


Vegan Mapo Tofu

4 from 4 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: DinnerCuisine: Chinese, TaiwaneseDifficulty: Medium
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

25

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes

Authentic Sichuan-Taiwanese Mapo Tofu, vegan-ized. It is spicy, numbing, pungent, and umami — easily the most hearty and fulfilling vegan dish I can think of. Perfect over a bed of fluffy steamed rice.

Ingredients

  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup textured vegetable protein

  • 1.5 cups hot water

  • 1 block (400 g) soft or silken tofu

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 3 dried chilis, seeds removed & thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon fermented garlic black bean paste

  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground

  • 1 tablespoon doubanjiang (spicy broad bean paste)

  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (substitute: rice wine vinegar)

  • 3 tablespoons chili oil (home-made recipe HERE)

  • Thickening Agent
  • 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1.5 tablespoons water

Directions

  • Prepare the TVP. Soak the TVP in warm water for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain the water and squeeze out excess liquid from the re-hydrated TVP. See this recipe for TVP visuals.
  • Prepare the Mushrooms. Let the dried shiitake mushrooms soak in 1.5 cups of hot water for 15-20 minutes. Once time is up, take out the shiitake mushrooms & reserve the mushroom-soaking liquid. Finely mince the mushrooms & set aside.
  • Blanch the Tofu. In a medium-sized pot, bring lightly-salted water to boil. Carefully add the tofu and cook for about 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove pot from the heat, drain the water, and keep the tofu warm inside the pot (with residual heat).
  • Make the Mapo Tofu. In a non-stick pan or wok, heat up sesame oil and vegetable oil on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and TVP, and cook while stirring until TVP is lightly browned and starting to turn crispy, around 7 minutes. Then add the garlic, ginger, and dried chilis, and cook until fragrant, around 1 minute. Follow with fermented black bean paste, doubanjiang, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and toast together for 2-3 minutes. Keep stirring & be careful not to burn. Deglaze with soy sauce and vinegar, then add back in the mushroom liquid. Very carefully add in the tofu in as well (they are very fragile at this point). Cook everything together for around 3 minutes (should be simmering/lightly boiling), then drizzle in the cornstarch slurry (thickening agent). Simply swirl the pan until the sauce thickens (don’t use a spatula to stir the tofu around). Finish by drizzling chili oil and sprinkling scallions. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Blanching the tofu: this is an optional, but highly recommended step. The result is a more flavorsome tofu with better texture (compared to not blanching the tofu).
  • Spiciness: adjust the amount of Sichuan peppercorns and/or chili oil to adjust levels of spice.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see your recreations!

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Gin Yang
3 months ago

Are the Shitake mushrooms in this recipe dried or fresh?

Will Klena
Will Klena
3 months ago

Wow, this recipe looks fantastic. I’ve been craving Asian comfort food since I’ve switched to a plant-based diet, and I’m so glad I discovered your Tik-Tok / website. I will post a follow up comment when I end up making this dish!

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