If you have no clue what mabo dofu is (you poor soul, you), it’s a delicious Chinese dish that consists of mainly tofu and a little bit of ground beef or pork in a spicy chili sauce. It’s very popular here in Japan, although as the Japanese tend to avoid overly spicy dishes, the Japanese version tends to be not spicy at all.
I’ve had this dish a million times, but I’d been wanting to try to make it myself. I’m still not too familiar with cooking many Chinese dishes, so I wasn’t sure how well this would turn out, but when I finally got around to making mabo dofu last night, the result turned out to be better than I’d expected! It was great actually!
Mabo Dofu (serves 2 – 3)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 lb ground beef or pork
- 1/4 c. leek or scallions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. ginger paste or grated ginger
- 2 Tbsp. tobanjan (a Chinese fermented spicy bean paste available in most Asian grocery stores)
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. cooking sake
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 c. broth (chicken, beef, veggie, doesn’t matter which)
- 12 – 15 oz. tofu (1 package) firm or soft, cut into cubes
- 1 Tbsp. corn starch dissolved into 1 1/2 Tbsp. cold water
- Heat oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add the ground beef/pork and cook until almost completely browned.
- Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger paste and cook for another minute. Add the tobanjan and cook for another minute. Add the soy sauce, cooking sake, and sugar, and cook for another minute.
- Add the chicken broth and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste. If you want it spicier, add more tobanjan.
- Add the tofu and mix well. Cook until everything is heated through. Add the corn starch dissolved in water, and stir continuously until sauce thickens. Serve immediately with steamed rice.