Recipe Photo Recipe Title

Tofu with spicy meat sauce (Mabodofu) is a classic Szechwan dish. It's said that my father introduced the authentic version to Japan. At that time, spicy foods did not appeal to the Japanese. The first Japanese people who tried Mabodofu were surprised by not only by the spiciness of the chili pepper but the tingling sensation from the houjou (Chinese pepper). Today Mabodofu is the signature dish at Shisenhanten, a restaurant my father opened. With the right ingredients, you can make your own authentic version right at home. Serve it over sticky white rice.

1 package of firm (cotton) tofu
3 oz. minced pork
1 garlic stem (naganegi may be substituted)
1 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon toban jan (chili paste)
1 teaspoon tenmen jan (black bean paste)
2 teaspoons touchi
1 tablespoon togarashi (Japanese ground red pepper)
1 tablespoon Chinese chili oil
180cc stock
1 tablespoon sake
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Monosodium glutamate (optional)
1 tablespoon potato starch
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon houjou (Chinese pepper)

・ Make 2 - 3 vertical incisions into the white part of the leaf garlic, then mince. Mince the green stems.
Tips LeLeaf garlic is the young sprout of a garlic bulb. If substituting naganegi, use only the white bottom.
・ Mince touchi.

process photo [1]
Cut tofu in half horizontally, the cut into 1-inch squares. Boil plenty of hot water in a pot and add a little salt. Add tofu and boil for about 3 minutes. Cut off heat and leave tofu to sit.
Tips Boiling the tofu makes its surface firm, thus preventing it from falling apart when stir-fried.

Heat wok on high heat until light smoke rises. Add plenty of oil, swirl it around to coat the sides of the wok, then throw the oil away.

Add 2 tablespoons of fresh oil and heat on high. Add minced pork and stir-fry until it falls apart and becomes crispy. When the oil becomes transparent add toban jan.
Tips Stir-fry the minced pork until it's crispy. This gives this dish its special aroma.

process photo [4]
Continuing to stir-fry, add in the following order: tenmen jan, touchi, togarashi and half the chili oil.
Tips To lessen the spiciness, reduce the amount of togarashi and chili oil.

process photo [5]
Drain the tofu and add it to the wok. Add stock and the white part of leaf garlic and boil for approximately 3 minutes.

Reduce heat. Add the seasonings in [A], the remaining chili oil and the green part of the leaf garlic.

process photo [7]
7. Dissolve the potato starch in an equal amount of water and gradually add to the wok until the Mabodofu thickens. Add oil and return the heat to high until the Mabodofu boils. Serve in bowls and sprinkle houjou on top.
Tips Houjou is also called Chinese pepper. It will add an authentic aroma to the dish.

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