Japanese-Style Mabo Dofu (Tofu with Spicy Miso Pork Sauce)

Lunch / Dinner

Japanese-Style Mabo Dofu (Tofu with Spicy Miso Pork Sauce)

Mapo tofu is a popular Sichuan dish — tofu in a spicy sauce, featuring pork or beef as more of a seasoning than the main event. It's a Chinese recipe, but variations are found in many other countries. This version has been adapted for Japanese tastes and ingredients and is called Mabo Dofu. Serve over steamed rice to soak up the sauce.

This recipe is reprinted from The Japanese Larder by Luiz Hara.


4 servings

Total Time

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Test Kitchen Tip

Precooking the tofu in boiling water helps to firm it up, which in turn prevents the tofu from breaking down as it stir-fries.

Steamed Rice

Wash 1 ½ cups short-grain rice in a bowl with plenty of water using a circular motion with your hand. Drain water and repeat washing 3–4 times until water runs clear. Transfer rice to a strainer and let drain 15 minutes. Next, place rice and 1⅔ cups water in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid (preferably glass) to soak for 30 minutes. Bring rice to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer rice 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid at any stage during cooking or resting. Remove pan from heat and let rice rest 15 minutes before serving.



For the rice, cook rice according to directions; keep warm.

For the sauce, whisk together miso, chili bean paste, soy sauce, mirin, water, cornstarch, and sesame oil in a bowl.

For the mabo dofu, add water to a pot, filling it half full, and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Add tofu, wait for tofu to rise to the surface, then remove from water and drain in a colander.

Heat sunflower oil in a wok over high until smoking hot. Add garlic, ginger, and red chili; stir-fry a few seconds until fragrant, but not burnt. Add pork and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s no longer pink.

Add bamboo shoots and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in sauce, and cook on a gentle heat, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tofu, gently mixing, until warmed through.

Divide rice and mabo dofu among serving bowls, and drizzle with toasted sesame oil, scallions, sesame seeds, and pepper flakes.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving

Calories: 806

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 38g 58%

Saturated Fat 8g 40%

Cholesterol 46mg 15%

Sodium 1880mg 78%

Carbs 84g 28%

Protein 31g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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