Iron Chef Shellie

Mapo Tofu

A restaurant quality dish you can easily whip up at home.


When you cook this at home please tag me too - I love to see when other people give my recipes a go!


Mapo Tofu
January 18, 2024
Recipes , Shellie Faves

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Mapo Tofu

The first time I had mapo tofu at a restaurant on Swanston St, I absolutely loved it. I had no idea what it was, but the slightly numbing effect that Sichuan peppercorns give you probably made me love it even more. The texture of silky tofu paired with minced pork, black beans, and umami sauces makes for a very well-rounded dish.

The most recent time I had mapo tofu from a different place on Swanston St during one of the many lockdowns was THE WORST version of the dish I’ve ever had. They shouldn’t have even called it mapo tofu; it was a spicy sweet and sour confusion.

THIS version, however, is perfection and comes from none other than one of my favourites, Adam Liaw.

Mapo Tofu

Adam Liaw
Print Recipe
Servings 6


  • 600g silken tofu
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chilli oil (or extra sesame oil if you prefer it milder)
  • 500g pork or beef mince
  • 3 tbsp chilli bean sauce
  • 2 tbsp salted black beans, roughly crushed, or 2 tbsp black bean sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, lighly ground
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp room temperature water
  • 1 tsp prickly ash oil
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • steamed rice, to serve


  • Prepare the tofu by carefully turning it out of the packet (run a knife around the edge first) onto a double layer of paper towel. Wrap the tofu in more paper towel and place it on a tray or plate wit another plate on top to press for 20 minutes. Gently cut into 5cm cubes.
  • Heat the garlic and oils in a wok over high heat, add the mince and fry until lightly browned. Stir through the chilli bean sauce, black beans, oyster sauce, ginger, Shaoxing wine, caster sugar and Sichuan peppercorns and toss for a few minutes until the sauces are fragrant. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add the cornflour mixture, stirring until the mixture thickens.
  • Very gently stir through the tofu without breaking it apart too much and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes until the tofu is warmed through. Stir through the prickly ash oil and spring onions.
  • Serve with steamed rice.


Prickly ash oil is not essential but adds a more authentic Sichuanese flavour. 

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Mapo Tofu

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Shellie Froidevaux

All content on this site is by Shellie Froidevaux - aka Iron Chef Shellie. Her skills include recipe development, food styling in her kitchen studio, lifestyle and travel photography, restaurant photography on location, styling and shooting social media for her clients and photography workshops for people who really want to change their game :)

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