Mapo Tofu Ramen
Mapo tofu a.k.a ‘pock-marked grandma’s beancurd’ is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province. This spicy numbing flavorful dish is normally eaten with rice. For a change, you may want to have this with noodles too.
This dish is simple to make. You can also adjust the spice level to according to your tolenrance level. However for authenticity, you may want to source for the following ingredients. They are Pixian doubanjiang (fermented broad beans from the town of Pixian in Sichuan, China), douchi (fermented black beans) and roasted Sichuan peppercorn. They can be found in your local Asian grocery store. Otherwise, they can be found online too (see Notes for more details).
MAPO TOFU RAMEN
Makes: ~4 servings
MUSHROOM VEGETABLE BROTH
5 – 6 cups water
1½ cups dried mushroom stems OR 3 cups fresh shitake / trumpet mushrooms
3 large organic carrot (scrubbed, washed and roughly chopped)
1 large onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
6” dashi kombu / kelp
3 tsp. mushroom seasoning
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
In a medium size pot/saucepan, add all broth ingredients except seasoning, salt and black pepper.
Bring to a boil. Once the contents are boiling, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for ~ 2 – 3 hours until all the ingredients are cooked through.
After ~2 – 3 hours, add the mushroom seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
Taste the broth. Add more seasoning if desired.
Turn off the heat and let the broth cool.
Once the broth has cooled, strain to remove all the solid ingredients.
Set the broth aside. Use the solids as compost.
TOASTED GROUND SICHUAN PEPPERCORN
3 tbsp. whole Sichuan peppercorn
In a medium size skillet on medium heat, add the peppercorn.
Toast the peppercorns until fragrant stirring often.
Once the peppercorns are fragrant, remove from heat and let cool.
Ground the toasted peppercorn in a spice blender. Set aside to be used later.
22 oz. wheat noodles (cooked according to the instructions on the package)
½ tsp. salt
2 – 14 oz. organic soft tofu (cut into 1” cubes)
Fill a medium size pot with enough water to cover the tofu pieces. Bring the water to a boil.
Add the salt and tofu pieces. Simmer the tofu.
After ~3–4 mins, strain the tofu and set aside.
2½ tbsp. grapeseed oil
2 tsp. whole Sichuan peppercorn
6.35 oz. trumpet mushroom (diced into small cubes)
2 tsp. Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp. sliced scallion (white part only)
4 garlic cloves (finely minced)
**1 tsp. organic minced ginger (see Notes)
**2½ tbsp. Pixian doubanjiang (see Notes)
**1 tbsp. douchi (rinsed & roughly chopped; see Notes)
3 tbsp. red chili powder
500 ml water
2 tsp. sugar or to taste
2 tsp. ground Sichuan peppercorn
Thickener (mix well)
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water
blanched baby bok choy
**sui mi ya cai (Sichuan fermented mustard; see Notes)
**chili oil (see Notes)
cilantro (roughly chopped)
In a large wok/skillet on medium heat, add the oil. Once the oil heats up, add the whole peppercorns. Sauté the peppercorns until fragrant. Remove the peppercorns but keep the oil.
To the peppercorn oil, add the mushrooms. Sauté until most of the moisture from the mushroom has evaporated.
Add the wine, scallion, garlic and ginger. Sauté and stir often until fragrant.
Next, add the doubanjiang, douchi and chili powder. Stir to combine and sauté until fragrant.
Add water and stir until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
Add the tofu and sugar. Stir to combine and simmer for ~10 mins.
Taste the dish. Adjust and add more seasoning like sugar and salt if desired
Lastly, add the toasted ground Sichuan peppercorn followed by the thickener. Stir to combine and simmer until the gravy is slightly thickened.
Dish up and garnish with scallion and cilantro. Set aside.
ASSEMBLING THE NOODLES
Divide the cooked wheat noodles into 4 separate serving bowls.
In each bowl, ladle hot broth over the noodles.
Add a generous amount of mapo tofu on top.
Add blanched baby bok choy on the side.
Garnish with toasted ground Sichuan peppercorn, sui mi ya cai, chili oil, cilantro and scallion.
I used minced ginger from The Ginger People.
Pixian Doubanjiang (fermented broad beans) looks like this:
Douchi (fermented black beans) looks like this:
Sui mi yacai (Sichuan fermented mustard) looks like this:
You can use any type of chili oil you like. The two I recommend are the following.
Add a little bit of oil to boiling water before blanching the baby bok choy. It only takes a minute or two to blanch the greens.
Did you try this recipe?
If you did, let me know how it went. Don’t forget to tag your photo with #sncxkitchen when you share on Instagram.