Mapo Tofu Waffle Recipe · i am a food blog (2024)

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I love tofu, probably because I grew up eating it. It’s fairly standard in Chinese cuisine and when I was a kid, we ate it at least twice a week for dinner. I know a lot of people who don’t like the taste or texture, but for me, it’s incredibly comforting and delicious.

Mapo Tofu Waffle Recipe · i am a food blog (1)

Tofu also happens to be my brother’s favourite food. He used to beg my mom to make it when we were kids. He didn’t care how it was cooked, he just couldn’t get enough. We used to joke about how he would end up marrying a tofu maker. I don’t think any artisanal tofu makers still exist so it’s a good thing my brother wasn’t set on finding a tofu-master. It’s also a good thing that my sister-in-law loves tofu too.

Mapo Tofu Waffle Recipe · i am a food blog (2)

One of my favourite ways of eating tofu is deep-fried. I love the contrast between the crispy outsides and creamy soft insides. These tofu waffles are pretty close to regular deep-fried tofu. The little waffle indentations give a lot of crispy edges which I love.

Mapo Tofu Waffle Recipe · i am a food blog (3)

You might be curious about how I decided to waffle tofu. I don’t have much of a story though. One day, I was looking in the fridge and saw half a block of tofu forlornly sitting in a pool of tofu juice. I took a look a my new waffle maker and presto: tofu waffles! I ate the first waffle with a drizzle of sriracha and hoisin and then my mind was off and running with the possibilities of tofu waffle recipes.

Mapo Tofu Waffle Recipe · i am a food blog (4)

Mapo tofu is one of my favourite dishes to cook for people who don’t like tofu. It’s not that it masks the flavour of tofu, it’s just that tofu is the perfect blank slate for the spicy pork sauce. If you’re not a fan of tofu, try the spicy pork sauce anyway – it’s super addictive on rice.

Mapo Tofu Waffle Recipe · i am a food blog (5)

Mike isn’t a fan of tofu, so I waffled some rice for him.

Mapo Tofu Waffles adapted from Gourmet via
serves 2

Mapo sauce

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chili bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Tofu Waffles

  • 1 block soft or medium tofu, cut in half and then cut lengthwise into 4, so you have 8 pieces

Stir together broth, bean paste, and soy sauce. Set aside.

Heat a bit of oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and cook, breaking up into small pieces. When no longer pink, add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes. Add broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until thick and glossy, about a minute. Turn off the heat, and stir in the sesame oil and Sichuan peppercorn powder. Serve over the tofu waffles and sprinkle with green onions.

Heat your waffle maker up. Brush with oil and place tofu into the waffle maker. Close gently, but do not press down. As the tofu heats up, it will gently take on a waffle shape. It’s done when it is golden and crispy. Enjoy with the mapo pork.

Mapo Tofu Waffle Recipe · i am a food blog (6)


  1. October 21, 2013 at 4:56 am

    I am soooo into this! What a fabulous recipe!


  2. Millie says:

    October 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    This actually looks ridiculously good! Waffled tofu along with freshly steamed white rice sounds like heaven!!!!
    My mouth is literally watering!!


  3. October 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    SO SMART!! I’ll have to try that when I get a waffle iron to see if I can actually like it.


  4. October 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    This is actually genius.


  5. Amanda says:

    October 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Yuuummmmmmm this looks fantastic.


  6. 2madeatery says:

    October 22, 2013 at 1:59 am

    It’s realy creative :D


  7. October 22, 2013 at 8:42 am

    omg I have a new use for the waffle maker. All credit to you of course but thank you seriously. You have solved my laziness problem with tofu.


  8. October 22, 2013 at 9:00 am

    WUTTT! We just bought our first waffle iron and this is so happening! I love mapo tofu…. this just makes it a little bit more awesomer.

    I didnt realize the waffles WERE tofu at first! You’re such a genius, I never would have come up with something so rad. Even the rice waffle looks incredible! On this week’s menu!


  9. October 22, 2013 at 9:31 am

    my husband’s family is from louisville, ky and there’s a strong vietnamese food presence there. there is a shop/store there that makes their own tofu. i don’t know if it qualifies them as “artisanal tofu makers” but there are those out there (in KY no less!) who do make their tofu from scratch.

    this recipe is super intriguing, thank you for sharing


  10. Jessica says:

    October 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Your pictures and cooking skills are amazing!! I absolutely love your blog!! Thank you for sharing


  11. Jennifer says:

    October 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    stop it! looks delicious and sounds so unique


  12. Lynna says:

    October 23, 2013 at 1:01 am

    This is BRILLIANT! I love mapo tofu! And, I`m excited to try this tofu waffle thing. :)


  13. October 24, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Wow what an original way to serve tofu – I must try it!


  14. Row says:

    October 24, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Wow! This is very cool and innovative. :)


  15. October 30, 2013 at 8:46 am

    I don’t like tofo… but maybe after this!! I will…. giving it a try, thanks


  16. vicky says:

    November 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    hi hello, i just wanted to say that i made this for dinner tonight. here’s a picture:


  17. Eva Bee says:

    July 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    This is super super innovative. Props on an amazing take of one of my favourite dishes!


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Mapo Tofu Waffle Recipe · i am a food blog (2024)


What is the difference between mapo tofu and mabo tofu? ›

Difference between Chinese and Japanese Mapo Tofu

Typically, we would include miso, mirin or sugar, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and occasionally sake. Most distinctly, Japanese mabo dofu doesn't include any chili or Sichuan peppercorn. Most distinctly, Japanese mabo dofu doesn't include any chili or Sichuan peppercorn.

Why is it called mapo tofu? ›

Mapo tofu is sometimes translated as “pockmarked old woman's bean curd.” (In Chinese, “ma” refers to pockmarks, and “po” can refer to an older woman.) The name is an inelegant nod to the smallpox-scarred skin of Mrs.

How to thicken mapo tofu? ›

Add the cornstarch slurry to the wok or skillet and stir gently to thicken the sauce. Simmer for another minute or until the sauce has thickened to your liking. 8. Serve the Mapo Tofu hot, garnished with sliced green onions, alongside cooked white rice.

Is mapo tofu Japanese? ›

Mapo Tofu (Mabo Dofu in Japanese pronunciation) is a chili pepper-based spicy tofu dish that originates from China. In Japan, some dishes are thought to be Japanese despite their non-Japanese origins, and Mapo Tofu is one of them.

Is Chinese mapo tofu healthy? ›

Ground pork stir fried with silken tofu in a rich, mildly spicy and deeply flavorsome sauce. Mapo Tofu is a classic Chinese dish full of protein, but this one is healthier as there's less of the chillies and oil. It's very easy to make and great for meal prep too.

Why is mapo tofu so good? ›

Sichuan red peppercorns are what gives mapo tofu its signature numbing sensation! As with most Chinese dishes, aromatics like ginger, garlic, and shallots give this mapo tofu so much aroma and flavor. Shaoxing wine deglazes the pan while adding a subtle, almost floral aroma.

Why does mapo tofu make your mouth tingle? ›

Vegetarian Mapo Tofu. This meat-free version of a popular Sichuan dish boasts tender tofu draped in a savory, mouth-numbing sauce. The characteristic tongue-tingling comes from Sichuan peppercorns.

What is mapo tofu sauce made of? ›

Make the Sauce: Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, black bean garlic sauce, cornstarch, and Sichuan peppercorns in a bowl; whisk to combine and set aside. Make the Ma Po Tofu: Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Add oil, swirling to coat sides.

Why do Japanese love mapo tofu? ›

Mabo Dofu (マーボー豆腐) is the Japanese pronunciation of Mapo Tofu. It is much less spicy than the Chinese original and has a sweeter and more mellow flavor due to the use of Japanese ingredients like miso and mirin.

Do I need cornstarch for Mapo Tofu? ›

Add the Tofu and Cornstarch Slurry

This is to let the tofu soak up all of the flavors of the mixture. Finally, give your cornstarch slurry a final mix before adding to the wok. Stir until the sauce has thickened to about the consistency of a gravy. If the Mapo Tofu sauce is too watery, add more cornstarch slurry.

Do you eat rice with Mapo Tofu? ›

Spicy, savory, and delicious Vegetarian Mapo Tofu is one of my go-to recipes that pair perfectly with rice. I created this Vegetarian Mapo Tofu for my vegetarian friend, and not going to lie … I may even like the vegetarian version more! PRO-TIP: make extra rice, because trust me, you will need it!

What goes well with Mapo Tofu? ›

What goes well with Mapo Tofu? Mapo Tofu is the perfect complement to freshly steamed rice! Because of its rich flavor, milder side dishes like Stir Fried Bok Choy, Fish Omelette, or Honey Walnut Shrimp are great for rounding out your meal.

What does mapo tofu symbolize? ›

Mapo tofu is said to have originated in Chengdu in the late 1800s. Ma translates to “pockmarks”, while po refers to an older woman. Together these reference the dish's inventor, Mrs Chen, an elderly woman with smallpox scars.

Why is mapo tofu red? ›

Any redness and bright color in a mapo tofu sauce comes from chili sauce, so if you want to make a redder mapo tofu, you're going to need to use a redder chili sauce. Our recipe uses Guilin Style Chili Sauce and isn't too glaringly red, so you may want to play around with chili sauces to get more color.

Who invented mapo tofu? ›

It's named after its inventor, Chen Ma Po, which was also the name of the tofu restaurant that she opened in Chengdu in the late 19th century—this origin story was described in a 1908 guide to Chengdu, and is generally accepted as true, says Dunlop.

What are the three types of tofu? ›

Tofu is categorized as silken, regular, firm, extra-firm and super-firm. Silken, the softest type of tofu, can be compared to a young white cheese. Firm tofu, the most common, has the same consistency as feta, while the texture of super-firm can be compared to that of meat.

What does Mabo tofu taste like? ›

Mapo tofu tastes spicy: both conventionally spicy with heat on your tongue, and málà, a numbing kind of spicy that is characteristic of Sichuan food. The sauce is pleasingly oily, which ampliflies the spiciness and flavor. It also has a deeply savoriness to it thanks to the umami from the doubanjiang.

What is the difference between Chinese and Korean mapo tofu? ›

Chinese mapo tofu is made with a soybean paste called doubanjiang. In Korean mapo tofu, this doubanjiang is substituted with a mixture of gochujang and doenjang. The salty and spicy, fermented soybean doubanjiang is effectively replaced with Korean fermented soybean paste and spicy Korean red chili pepper paste.

What are the different types of Korean tofu? ›

Korean block tofu comes in 3 types — firm (부침용), soft (찌개용), and silken (생식용). Firm (부침용): This type of tofu is good for pan-frying. It holds up pretty well, so it's typically used for dubu jorim. However, the difference between the soft (찌개용) and firm is not huge in Korean tofu, so they can be interchangeable.

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