Vegan mapo tofu is a spicy food from the Sichuan region. The different components in this dish contribute to the layers of flavors.
This is a spicy food and the numbing effect comes from the Sichuan peppercorns. The chili oil (used for Dan Dan Noodles, made with Sichuan peppercorns, Sichuan chili pepper and couple more ingredients), adds tons of flavor and spice. The spicy broad bean paste also adds to the heat and flavor. All these ingredients add to the flavor of the dish.
I added a little salt to balance the heat. This is a tamed version, I can say, but still the heat and numbing effect is present and perfect. Drizzle a couple more tablespoon of sesame oil on top of rice to minimize the heat. A teaspoon of sugar can also be added to the mapo tofu to balance the spicy-heat.
The traditional mapo tofu is made with ground pork. I have made a vegan version of it. For the Dan Dan Noodles, I made a ground mixture of tofu and pecans as a substitute and used the same here. Chopped mushrooms can also be used. I followed my recipe from The Woks of Life, but adjusted the heat so that we could handle it (and veganized it too).
In our Blogging Marathon group, we could pick an Asian country, explore and share three recipes from the country. I chose China. Mapo Tofu is my first recipe. Last month, in our #EattheWorldChallenge, we shared recipes from China. I shared Biang Biang Noodles, which is a spicy and tasty hand-pulled noodles. We love Chinese food and wanted to share a couple of our favorites in this event.
Tofu - 12 oz
Chili oil - 1/4 cup (recipe here)
Sesame oil - 1/4 cup
Ginger - 3 tbsp, finely minced
Garlic - 3 tbsp, finely minced
Sichuan peppercorn- 1/2 tsp, crushed or powdered
Green onions - 3, sliced
Pecan - 1/2 cup
Pixian spicy broad bean paste - 1 tbsp
Water - 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp
Corn starch - 1.5 tbsp
Salt -1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Blend the pecans and quarter cup pecan to a coarse textured mix. Set aside.
Cube the remaining tofu and set aside.
Heat oil (reserve a tablespoon) in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the crushed Sichuan peppercorns and fry for 30 seconds. Add the ginger and sauté for a minute and add the garlic. Continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the pecan-tofu mix and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the spicy broad bean paste, 3/4 cup water and tofu and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
Make a slurry of corn starch with two tablespoons of water and pour into the simmering tofu. Add the chili oil and add salt if you need. Simmer for 2 minutes. The mixture will thicken. Switch off the flame.
Add the reserved tablespoon of sesame oil.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Too with sliced green onions. Serve with rice.