Japanese-style Mapo Tofu

The classic Chinese mapo tofu, arranged with naga-negi long onions and Chinese cabbage to make "white mapo tofu".

Japanese-style Mapo Tofu
Photographed by Seiichi Suzuki

Recipe by
Miyuki Kato




Beans & Tofu



Calorie count is per serving

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 200 g ground pork
  • 1 block kinugoshi-tofu (400 g)

    Soft tofu. Moist, with a smooth texture. Good to eat raw.

  • 2 naga-negi long onions
  • 1 piece ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 leaves Chinese cabbage
  • 200 ml chicken stock

    Granulated Chinese-style chicken stock, reconstituted with 1 tsp in 200 ml of water.

  • 200 ml dashi

    Japanese soup stock. Made with a lot of different ingredients, most commonly kombu kelp and bonito flakes.

  • Sansho pepper, to taste

    A kind of spice. Grated Japanese pepper seeds.

  • 1/4 tsp shichimi chili pepper

    A spicy and fragrant blend of coarsely ground chili plus other ingredients. The choices include sansho pepper, dried citrus peel, sesame, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, shiso (perilla), green laver and dried ginger.

  • [Potato starch dissolved in water]

    • 1 1/2 tbsp potato starch
    • 2 tbsp water
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp usukuchi soy sauce

    Popular soy-sauce originating in Kansai region. Light-colored, yet salty. Good for keeping the raw taste and color of the ingredients.

  • 1 tsp sugar



Wrap the tofu in a non-woven paper towel and let sit for about 10 min to drain, then cut into 3 cm cubes. Coarsely chop the naga-negi long onions and finely chop the ginger. Cut the garlic in half and remove the core, then finely chop. Cut the Chinese cabbage into large pieces.


Put the chopped naga-negi long onion into a bowl, then add 1/2 tsp of salt and mix in. When the salt has dissolved, add the sesame oil and stir to coat, and let rest for 10 min.


Place the ginger, garlic, and oil-coated naga-negi long onion in a frying pan and heat over high heat, stir-frying until fragrant. Add the ground pork and stir-fry until the pork is broken up into small pieces.


Add the chicken soup and dashi to the frying pan and stir in. When it comes to a boil, add the tofu. When it comes to a boil again, stir in 2 tsp of usukuchi soy sauce and 1 tsp of sugar, then add 1/3 tsp of sansho powder and shichimi chili pepper to taste. Salt to taste, then add the potato starch dissolved in water to thicken, and remove from heat.


Briefly blanch the Chinese cabbage, then squeeze out the excess moisture and place in a serving dish. Ladle the mapo tofu on top and add sansho powder to taste.