I challenged myself to make the mapo tofu with impossible meat an the end results were very satisfiying! Learn how to make chinese mapo tofu from scratch with me in this step by step guide where I break down the ins and outs of this classic Szechuan (also spelt Sichuan) recipe. This simple mapo tofu recipe is packed full of flavour is one of the best things you can have with rice. Be warned, it is a spicy dish so get ready for the burn.
As mentioned in the video, the traditional authentic versions of mapo tofu would use beef or pork but I have opted to use Impossible Meat because of the challenge (and to keep this recipe fully vegan for my vegan and vegetarian friends). I must however say that the Impossible Meat tasted a lot like lean beef and I couldn’t really tell the difference when I had it with the spicy mapo tofu. Do of course do what makes you happy and use whichever mince meat you prefer.
How To Make The Impossible Mapo Tofu
You will need:
300g of Soft Tofu
50g Impossible Meat
3 cloves of minced Garlic
1 to 1.5 tbsp Spicy Szechuan Bean Paste (Dou Ban Jiang) – (Tip: Be sure to taste as you go along as I found that different brands of Dou Ban Jiang have vastly different amounts of salt)
0.5 tbsp Fermented Black Beans
0.5 tsp Chilli Powder
0.5 tbsp Szechuan Peppercorns
5 dried Shitake Mushrooms
1 to 1.25 cups of Mushroom Stock (made from re-hydrating the shitake mushrooms)
1 tsp soy sauce (if needed, this will depend on how salty your Dou Ban Jiang is)
1 to 1.5 tsp Shaoxing Wine
1 to 1.5 tsp Sugar
0.5 tbsp Cornstarch (mixed with 1 tbsp spoon of Water to make a slurry)
Place your shitake mushrooms in a pot of water with about 2 cups of water and simmer for 10 minutes till the mushrooms are tender. Once done, take the mushrooms out of the pot and slice into cubes once cooled. Reserve the leftover mushroom stock for later.
Toast the Szechuan peppercorns over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until aromatic. Toss/stir the Szechuan peppercorns to ensure that they don’t burn. Grind the toasted Szechuan peppercorns in a pestle and mortar.
Cut your tofu into cubes and simmer in a pot of lightly salted water. This helps firm up the tofu and applies a gentle and even layer of seasoning on the tofu. It also helps to remove the “raw” smell of the tofu that while not unpleasant, is not ideal for mapo tofu.
Fry your impossible meat (or minced meat) over medium heat until slightly browned. Next add the shitake mushrooms and minced garlic that we prepared earlier and fry for another minute or so. Next add the spicy Szechuan bean paste (dou ban jiang), fermented black beans, chilli powder and fry for another 2 – 3 minutes to allow the flavours to intensify.
Add 1 cup of mushroom stock, shaoxing cooking wine and sugar and simmer. Taste your sauce at this point, if the sauce is well seasoned, don’t add any salt/soy sauce to it. If the sauce is under salted, you can add some soy sauce (but taste as you go along because depending on the brand of dou ban jiang you use the sodium levels can really differ for everyone).
Next drain your tofu that was prepared earlier and add it into the wok. Gently push it around with the back of your ladle so you don’t end up breaking it apart.
After about 3-4 minutes, add your cornstarch slurry. Give the wok a good stir and once the sauce thickens, turn off the heat and transfer the mapo tofu into a bowl. Sprinkle your toasted and ground Szechuan peppercorns and serve with rice.