Mapo Tofu that’s Not Authentic, but is Easy and Delicious

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Who doesn’t love Chinese food? But authentic dishes often call for some hard to find ingredients. Luckily, you can still make fast, easy, Chinese-style dishes with everyday ingredients. This Mapo Tofu recipe is one that I found  in a magazine two decades ago, and quickly grew to love. The tofu melds with the other ingredients to take on an almost cheesy quality. And even Tony, who isn’t a big tofu fan, really likes it. It has a family-friendly, “Hamburger Helper” vibe to the taste.

Mapo Tofu Recipe that's Not Authentic, but is Easy and Delicious . Naturally dairy-free and nut-free. Uses everyday, family-friendly ingredients. Not too spicy!

Special Diet Notes: Family-Friendly Mapo Tofu

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, and peanut-free.

Mapo Tofu (Easy & Family-Friendly)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Traditional Mapo Tofu, from the Sichuan province, uses fermented chili bean paste. This recipe uses black bean sauce - yes, as noted above, it is not authentic! You can substitute chili bean sauce, but be aware that it is much spicier! This is a mild version. Feel free to swap the vegetables in this dish. Sliced mushrooms stand in well for the zucchini, and sliced water chestnuts are a crunchy alternative to bean sprouts.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (3/4-inch) piece ginger, minced, or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ pound ground beef or pork
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons black bean sauce, to taste
  • 12 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 to 2 small chile peppers, diced or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • Sesame oil (optional)
  • Chili oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oil in a wok or pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Add the ground meat and stir fry until lightly browned and crumbly.
  2. Stir in the chicken broth and bean sauce. Add the tofu and zucchini and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bean sprouts, green onions, and peppers (if using) and sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Divide the rice between 4 plates or bowls and top with the mapo tofu. Serve with the sesame oil and hot chili oil for drizzling, if desired.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 390 Fat: 11.4g Saturated fat: 2.1g Carbohydrates: 40.7g Sugar: 4.4g Sodium: 415mg Fiber: 2.8g Protein: 32g

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For More Dairy-Free Dinner Recipes, Get Eat Dairy Free!

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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