spicy mapo tofu

Lip Smackingly Good Spicy Mapo Tofu Recipe

We’re on a streak with tofu on our GlycoLeap blog! As requested by one of our users, here’s another tofu recipe (in the form of spicy mapo tofu!) to keep a good thing going. And gosh do we love a good tofu dish!

Tofu is made from soybeans, which are high in quality protein. One box of firm tofu (tau kwa) contains as much protein as 90g (palm-size) of cooked meat or fish. Just like meat, soy contains all the essential protein building blocks (amino acids) to keep our muscles and body strong. Tofu also is a source of calcium and iron. We need more research to know the exact portion of soy needed for health benefits. But it is believed that 2-3 servings of traditional soy foods each day can be beneficial. 2-3 servings = ~1 box tofu (providing 15-20g soy protein), consistent with the typical Asian diet.

There are some misconceptions about tofu going around about tofu and breast cancer survivors or people with gout. This topic could be enough to talk about in another blog post! But generally speaking, tofu is safe to take for survivors of breast cancer, and also gout. It may even have some benefits for these people.

As a general rule, use silken tofu for delicate dishes like stews and steaming (like spicy mapo tofu); and firm tofu for things like skewers or stir-fries.

This Sichuan-inspired spicy mapo tofu gives a numbing kick from the Sichuan peppers. I love that lip-smacking mala (numbing spiciness) flavour, and it’s definitely my most loved Chinese tofu dish. The traditional spicy mapo tofu uses minced pork, but we’ve made it lower fat here by substituting with chicken, and you can leave out the Chinese rice wine to make it Halal too. You can up the spiciness by adding some chilli powder and chilli oil as you please. Similarly, if you don’t enjoy the mala sensation, omit the Sichuan peppercorns. If it’s too intimidating to make spicy mapo tofu from scratch, there are instant sauces available. If you choose those, do remember to add less sauce to cut down on your sodium!

Spicy Mapo Tofu Recipe

Serves: 4                Time: 20 mins


  • 200g lean chicken, minced
  • 1 block silken tofu, cubed
  • ¼ cup spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chilli bean paste
  • 1.5 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (optional)
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add garlic and peppercorns, stir-fry until fragrant. Add minced chicken, spring onion and chilli bean paste, and stir-fry over high heat until chicken is tender.

2. Add tofu cubes, Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and ¼ cup of water to frying pan. Lower heat and simmer until liquid is reduced.

3. Serve hot with a bowl of brown rice.


 Nutritional Facts:

Per serving: 180 calories; 11 g fat; 4 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein

Carbohydrate Servings: 0

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