This easy and super delicious Vegan Mushroom Ma Po Tofu is the best way to have Shiitake Mushroom in my opinion. The quick mix-and-cook Chinese sauce plumps up the already juicy mushrooms and the result is an addictive, spicy stir-fry that the whole family will love!
A Twist On The Classic Sichuan Mabo Dofu
An authentic Mapo Dofu hails from the Sichuan province in China and is a spicy and pungent stir-fry dish of an oily red chilli and pork sauce with cubes of silken tofu swimming in the bright red emulsion. With all the meat recipes I have veganized over the years, this one is by far the most delicious and close to the authentic version. To replace the meat, I use my favourite plant-based substitute – mushrooms!
Shiitake mushrooms go really well with Asian flavours. Their meaty umami quality is absolutely perfect for ginger, garlic and chilli. I chop them really fine to form the base of my non-meat sauce. And although I use unconventional things like miso paste, it is just perfect to elevate that salty-sweet umami ness of the dish. It is also to replace the elusive and sometimes hard to find fermented bean paste or Doubangjiang which is traditionally used in the sauce. The fermented miso paste (white or red) is a great substitute for the fermented bean paste and is more readily available.
I would strongly urge you to find a good Chinese chilli oil. I use the Lee Kum Lee brand Chiu Chow Chili Oil and it is absolutely gorgeous. The heat is just amazing (surprisingly, it isn’t too spicy but packs a little punch and imparts a beautiful authentic flavour to my dish!). If you would like to make your own Chinese Chilli Oil, try these recipes – Omnivore’s Cookbook Chinese Chili Oil and Woks Of Life’s Homemade Chiu Chow Chili Oil.
Important Things To Note With Ma Po Tofu Recipe
- Prep all your ingredients in advance. A Chinese stir-fry is usually 15 minutes of prep followed by 5 minutes of cooking at super high heat.
- If possible, use a carbon steel wok. They are perfect for cooking stir-fries and produce that smoky char like the takeaway places.
- Handle the silken tofu carefully. It is very delicate. Drain the tofu thoroughly and slice it with a sharp paring knife while still in its container. I find this method really good to keep silken tofu handling to a minimum. When it is time to add the tofu, I just tip over the cut cubes straight from the pack to the wok.
- You can also use medium or firm tofu. I have tried all versions. A restaurant that we frequented in the past would serve it with silken tofu and we absolutely loved it. So, I have been making it with silken tofu ever since.
- If you can’t find fresh shiitake mushrooms, use Swiss Brown mushrooms or Portabello mushrooms. The brown, meaty varieties work really well here. Make sure you chop them really fine to get the mince effect in the sauce.
Enjoy your quick, delicious, vegan dinner. Don’t forget to leave me your feedback in the comments/ratings below. Share your Vegan Mushroom Ma Po Tofu pictures with me on Instagram by tagging me @cookrepublic.
A vegan version of the authentic Chinese Mabo Dofu, this Mushroom Ma Po Tofu cooks in under 30 minutes and is a delicious light weeknight meal for the whole family.
For the sauce
- 3 tablespoons cornflour
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons tamari or light soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon chilli oil paste (or Sriracha)
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
For the Mushroom And Tofu
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- ½–1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 200g mushrooms (shiitake or swiss brown mushrooms), finely chopped
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
- 200g silken tofu, drained and cubed
- To make the sauce, mix cornflour and water to a smooth paste in a mixing jug. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and mix well. Ensure that there are no lumps. Set aside.
- Heat a wok on high. Add the vegetable/peanut oil and sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes. Sauté for a few seconds. Add the mushroom and the white part of the spring onion and sauté for a couple of minutes until spring onion starts to caramelize.
- Add the sauce and continue cooking, tossing constantly for a couple of minutes. Add the tofu and mix gently. Cook for a couple of minutes until tofu is coated and heated through.
- Remove into a serving bowl. Garnish with spring onion greens.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.
For a spicier version, add an extra tablespoon of chilli oil when making the sauce.