Mapo tofu is the ultimate comfort dish in Chinese cooking. It originates in the Sichuan province where the dish is traditionally more spicy with the “ma la” - numbing spiciness coming from the Sichuan peppercorns added at the end. I personally love the soft, slide-down-your-mouth silken tofu paired with the thick ragu sauce.
We had a version of mapo tofu in my Cantonese household where we used ground up turkey meat instead of pork and skipped out on the spicy dobanjang (spicy bean paste) and Sichuan peppercorns, which are sort of the base flavors of mapo tofu, but it was delicious and comforting nonetheless.
For our version of vegan mapo tofu, I’m using my favorite brand of beef crumbles, but you can choose another brand, add TVP or even substitute beans. This recipe is one of my favorites because it’s consistent - it always turns out amazing. All you need to do is spoon it over a bed of rice and your job is done.