Cheater Mapo Tofu

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: asian
Keyword: Dairy-free, Egg-Free
Print Recipe


  • Large pan


  • 1 pound ground pork Make sure there are no caking agents in it. High fat pork works best.
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 4-8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp gochujang Found in most Asian grocers. (Fermented red chile paste)
  • 2 tbsp chunjang Found in most Asian grocers. (Fermented bean paste)
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 block tofu drained and cubbed
  • 1 tbsp starch I prefer potato starch, but you can use corn starch or any other simple starch you have on hand.
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions


  • I recommend starting the rice before getting started on this recipe. I wait for the timer on my rice cooker to tell me I have about 15 minutes left.
  • Without adding an oil, add the pork to a pan over medium heat. Break apart the meat so it is in small pea sized chunks
  • Once the pork fat is clear, and runny add the garlic and white pepper.
  • Keep cooking the pork until it is brown and crispy.
  • Have your remaining sauce ingredients ready as the next steps need to be done in fast succession
  • Once all the meat is cooked through add the gochujang and doubanjiang, mix everything in the pan together until all the meat is coated in the two pastes. (Do not let the doubanjiang burn)
  • Add the sake to deglaze the pan.
  • Add in the cubbed tofu before adding the water and soy sauce.
  • Let the ingredients simmer together for about 10 minutes. Gently stir, being careful not to break apart the tofu.
  • Once the dish has been given enough time to let the ingredients mingle, add just enough starch slurry (Mixture of starch and water) to reach your desired consistency.
  • If the dish tastes too salty, I recommend adding just a little bit of apple cider vinegar.
  • Serve the mapo tofu over rice with green onions sprinkled on top


This recipe was taught to me by a Korean woman living in Japan, and was made using ingredients that were easy to find in Japan. I still make it this way, and have chosen to celebrate it’s lack of authenticity to any one nation. 
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