This Vegan Japanese-Style Mapo Tofu is intensely savoury, comforting and warming, and super easy to make!
This is an adapted version of a Chinese dish originating from China’s Sichuan province, which consists of mincemeat and soft tofu cooked in a very spicy chilli sauce with fermented black beans.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.
I decided to make this dish a little healthier by omitting the mincemeat, and adding a little miso. The miso gives the dish an enormously satisfying salty, deeply savoury flavour. Miso isn’t usually added to Japanese-Style Mapo Tofu, but I think it gives a nice addition of extra Japanese-y flavour. This dish tastes best when you use soft, silky tofu. I use this Clearspring one which you can buy in most supermarkets.
This Mapo Tofu is perfect comfort food for a lazy evening and really quick and easy to make! It’s best served piping hot over a bed of sticky rice. Leftovers reheat well, but unfortunately aren’t freezer-friendly.
If you’re looking for more tofu inspiration, you might like this Tofu Satay Curry, this Tofu Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken), this Tofu Satay or this Peanut Tofu Stir Fry. If you’re looking for more easy, healthy and comforting meals, check out this Miso Brown Rice Soup.
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!
- 300g (10oz) soft, silky tofu
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or rapeseed oil)
- 3 spring onions, sliced
- 1cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 cube vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon white miso (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 tablespoon mirin (or sub 1 teaspoon any other sweetener)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari if gluten-free), to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Chilli oil (as little or as much as you want)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Drain tofu, pat dry with a paper towel and cut into small cubes
- Heat oil in pan and add spring onions, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds
- Fry until they’re nicely browned
- Add tofu with enough water to roughly cover, along with stock cube, miso, mirin, soy sauce and sesame oil
- Bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat for around 5 minutes
- Mix cornstarch in a separate bowl with a splash of cold water, then add to pan and mix well. Leave to simmer for another couple of minutes until sauce becomes nicely thickened
- Best served piping hot over a bed of sticky rice
- Keeps covered in the fridge for up to a couple of days - heat up leftovers in a pan on the hob