Serves 2 as an entree
One of Sichuan’s most ubiquitous dishes, it is said that this dish was created by the pockmarked (ma), elderly (po) wife of a 19th century Chengdu restaurateur Mr. Chen.
The dish became so popular with locals, the restaurant name was eventually changed to Chen Mapo Tofu Restaurant and continues to operate to this day.
Traditionally made with either ground beef or pork, at Kwei Fei we substitute the texturally amazing woodear
mushroom for the meat, and use mushroom stock to further deepen the flavors of the umami rich broth for a vegan version of this dish that will not leave you wanting for meat.
Use the chili oil and ground sichuan peppercorn at the end to your liking, though we prefer this dish with a good amount of spice and the numbing quality from the
peppercorns is not to be missed. Aside from the irreplaceable ingredient doubanjang, or fermented bean paste, this dish requires no special equipment and can be made on your stove top in a regular old sauce pot.
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Doubanjang (Sichuan Fermented Bean Paste)
1 tsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 ½ c Mushroom Stock
Finishing Dish: 1 Lb Soft Tofu
3 Tbsp Minced Woodear Mushroom
¼ c Scallion Greens, sliced into thin rounds
drizzle Chili Oil
drizzle Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Corn Starch, mixed with 2 Tbsp water
Pinch Toasted and Ground Sichuan Peppercorn
1. Place 6 or 7 dried woodear mushrooms in a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to
soak for 20 minutes or so while your sauce is simmering, until they are re-hydrated and
pliable. Mince finely with a chefs knife.
2. Gently remove soft tofu from package and cut into 24 equal sized cubes. Lay out on a
paper towel and allow the tofu to drain a bit while you prepare the sauce.
3. Heat oil in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until it just begins turning color. Add doubanjang and fry until oil turns a nice red color. Add in sugar to caramelize briefly.
4. Add remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for apx 20 minutes to reduce slightly, and allow flavors to marry.
5. Add tofu, a good pinch of scallion and minced woodear mushrooms and return to simmer. Let tofu simmer in the sauce for 3 to 5 minutes so that it absorbs some of the flavor of the sauce.
6. Add corn starch/water mixture to thicken to a proper consistency. You are looking for something between a sauce and a gravy.
7. Spoon into a serving bowl bowl, top with a drizzle of sesame oil, chili oil, a pinch of ground sichuan peppercorn and remaining scallion rounds.
8. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.