Japanese-Style Mapo Tofu (Vegan + GF)

Japanese-Style Mapo Tofu (Vegan + GF)

This Japanese-Style Mapo Tofu is a version of a Chinese dish originating from China’s Sichuan province, where it consists of soft tofu cooked in a very spicy chilli sauce with fermented black beans.

Japanese-Style Mapo Tofu (Vegan + GF)

The dish is also very popular in Japan, where it has been adapted by the use of Japanese ingredients. The Japanese version tastes quite different from the authentic Szechuan one, especially because it’s much less spicy.

Mince meat is usually added but this recipe here just uses tofu. You can use any soft, silky tofu for this dish. I use this Clearspring one which you can buy in most supermarkets. 

I decided to add this Clearspring Umami Paste with Chilli, which gives it an enormously satisfying salty, deeply savoury flavour with a bit of a spicy kick.

I absolutely love this Umami Paste and have been adding it to loads of dishes I’ve been making recently! It’s made from a mixture of soy sauce and a Koji culture which is added to rice to make it ferment naturally, and tastes quite similar to miso. If you can’t get hold of this, or if you’re gluten-free, feel free to use miso instead. I’ve added miso to this dish numerous times, and it tastes delicious too. Miso isn’t usually added to Japanese-Style Mapo Tofu, but I think it gives a nice addition of extra Japanese-y flavour. 

This Mapo Tofu is perfect comfort food for a lazy evening and really quick and easy to make! Best served piping hot over a bed of Japanese rice. Leftovers reheat well, but unfortunately aren’t freezer-friendly. 

If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!

Japanese-Style Mapo Tofu (Vegan + GF)
Serves 2
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  1. 300g soft, silky tofu
  2. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  3. 1 cube vegetable stock
  4. 100ml water
  5. 3-4 Spring onions, sliced
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (or fresh grated ginger)
  7. 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  8. 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  9. 1 teaspoon white miso (ensure gluten-free if necessary, or sub same amount Clearspring Umami Paste)
  10. 2 tablespoons mirin (or sugar)
  11. 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  12. 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari soy sauce if gluten-free), to taste
  13. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  14. Chilli oil (as little or as much as you want)
  1. Cut up tofu into small blocks of around 1 cm
  2. Slice spring onions and finely chop garlic
  3. Heat oil in pan and add spring onions, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds
  4. Fry until they’re browned
  5. Add 100ml water and turn up heat
  6. Add tofu, stock, miso, soy sauce and mirin
  7. Mix cornstarch in a separate bowl with a splash of cold water, then add to the pan
  8. Once it’s cooked, take off the heat and add sesame oil and chilli oil
  9. Serve piping hot with Japanese rice. Leftovers reheat well
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