Mapo Tofu with Ramps Recipe

Mapo Tofu
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Note: Both the chili bean paste and the Sichuan Peppercorns can be bought online if you don't have a good Chinese market nearby. Use tofu labeled "silken" in a hardness range of medium to firm. Don't try this with the super-soft stuff or it'll fall apart!

You can use store-bought roasted chili oil, or make your own by toasting a cup of whole hot dried Chinese peppers in a wok until lightly charred, then adding 1 1/2 cups of vegetable or canola oil. Heat the oil until the chilis start to bubble slightly, then allow to cool and transfer to a sealable container. Chili oil will stay good in the refrigerator for several months.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, divided (see note)

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons cold water

  • 1 1/2 pounds medium to firm silken tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1/4 pound ground beef

  • 8 whole ramps, finely sliced, whites and greens reserved separately

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated on a microplane grater

  • 2 tablespoons fermented chili bean paste (see note)

  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine

  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup roasted chile oil (see note)

  • 1/4 cup finely sliced scallion greens


  1. Heat half of Sichuan peppercorns in a large wok over high heat until lightly smoking. Transfer to a mortar and pestle. Pound until finely ground and set aside.

  2. Add remaining Sichuan peppercorns and vegetable oil to wok. Heat over medium-high heat until lightly sizzling, about 1 1/2 minutes. Pick up peppercorns with a wire mesh skimmer and discard, leaving oil in pan.

  3. Combine corn starch and cold water in a small bowl and mix with a fork until homogenous. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat and add tofu. Cook for 1 minute. Drain in a colander, being careful not to break up tofu.

  4. Heat oil in wok over high heat until smoking. Add beef and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add ramp whites and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ginger and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add chili-bean paste, wine, soy sauce, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Pour in corn starch mixture and cook for 30 seconds until thickened. Add tofu and carefully fold in, being careful not to break it up too much. Stir in chili oil and half of ramp greens and simmer for 30 seconds longer. Transfer immediately to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining ramp greens and toasted ground Sichuan pepper. Serve immediately with white rice.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
446 Calories
39g Fat
9g Carbs
20g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 446
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 19mg 6%
Sodium 821mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 12mg 58%
Calcium 238mg 18%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 479mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)