Mapo Tofu

© Fredrika Stjärne

Mapo Tofu


"This is totally my way of making this dish," chef Kuniko Yagi says. "I'm sure Chinese people wouldn't let me call this mapo tofu." Yagi's version has more meat than tofu, but she still relies on jarred toban djan, the chile-bean paste that gives this Chinese takeout staple its signature heat and deeply savory flavor.


  1. 1 teaspoon canola oil

  2. 1/2 pound ground beef chuck (85 percent lean)

  3. 1/2 pound ground pork

  4. Kosher salt

  5. 2 tablespoons chile-bean sauce, preferably toban djan

  6. 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce or tenmenjan (soybean paste)

  7. 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  8. One 14-ounce package soft tofu, finely diced

  9. 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

  10. 1/2 cup water

  11. 3 scallions, finely chopped

  12. White rice, for serving

  1. Heat a large skillet until hot. Add the oil, followed by the beef and pork. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring and breaking up the meat, until crumbly and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the chile-bean sauce, hoisin and soy sauce and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Gently fold in the tofu. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the water. Add to the skillet and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and serve.