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mapo tofu in a white speckled bowl topped with scallions

Vegetarian Mapo Tofu

  • Author: Jessica Hoffman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main
  • Method: cook
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Mapo Tofu is salty, savoury and will be your new favourite comfort food!


Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1-inch cube ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fermented chili bean paste (also called doubanjiang)
  • 12 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 pack soft tofu
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • sliced scallions for serving (optional)


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok or pan on medium heat.
  2. Lightly grind the Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, then add the Sichuan peppercorns, ginger and garlic and sauteé for 30 seconds. (You can also leave the peppercorns whole.) 
  3. Next add the fermented chili bean paste, soy sauce and brown sugar and mix together.
  4. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a light boil, letting the sauce cook for 2-3 minutes. As the sauce boils it should start to reduce.
  5. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the cornstarch mixture and mix together. The sauce will start to thicken.
  6. Add the tofu and sesame oil and toss together until the tofu is warmed through.
  7. Serve with sliced scallions. 


Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Cook on medium heat. If you have the heat on too high, you can burn the Sichuan peppercorns.

Use soft tofu, not silken. Make sure to check the packaging of the tofu. Soft and Silken tofu is not the same. Silken tofu is too soft and will fall apart in the dish.

Don’t add the cornstarch straight to the pan. It’s important to mix the cornstarch with some cold water before adding it to the pan. If you add the cornstarch directly to the pan it will become clumpy and won’t thicken the sauce properly.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
  • Calories: 245
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 10.5g

Keywords: vegan mapo tofu, vegetarian mapo tofu, mapo tofu no pork, mapo tofu no meat