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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Sng

Mapo tofu and mapo eggplant

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

I would eat this mapo sauce with everything — tofu, of course, but also eggplant, egg noodles, pasta, white rice.

Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns

  • 300 grams silken tofu

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 250 grams minced pork

  • 2 tablespoons douban jiang

  • 5 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced

  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce

  • 1 teaspoon dark soya sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons cornflour mixed with 2 teaspoons water

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onions

  • 1 large eggplant, halved and scored

  • Steamed rice

Prepare the eggplant by rubbing salt all over the cut side and set aside for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

After 30 minutes, squeeze the water gently from the two halves and dry with paper towels. Brush olive oil over the cut surface and place face down on a lined tray. Bake for one hour while you make the sauce.

Heat the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Then use a mortar and pestle to grind to a fine powder. Set aside for later.

Carefully cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes.

Heat a saucepan of water over high heat. When the water is at a gentle simmer (don’t rapidly boil the water or the tofu might break up), add a generous couple of pinches of salt. Then carefully add the tofu pieces. Simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn the heat off and allow the tofu to steep in the hot, salty water.

In a wok or large frying pan over high heat, add the oil. Then add the pork, breaking up the meat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the douban jiang and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Then stir through the garlic, ginger and chilli powder. Stir-fry for half a minute.

Then add the chicken stock, soya sauce, dark soya sauce, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to medium and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about a quarter and is starting to thicken.

Stir through the cornflour mixture. Now add the Sichuan peppercorn powder.

Taste and season with extra salt or soy sauce if needed.

Reserve half of the sauce for the eggplant.

Now use a slotted spoon to drain the tofu and add it to the pork mixture. Drizzle over the sesame oil and gently toss. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with spring onions.

When the eggplant has collapsed, gently remove it from the tray with tongs and place face up on a plate. Spoon the reserved mapo sauce over it. To eat, scrape the soft flesh of the eggplant with a spoon and mix with the sauce.

Serve with steamed rice.

Recipe adapted from Marion’s Kitchen and Fine Cooking.

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