Recipe: Vegan Mapo Tofu

Photo: by Nikki To (courtesy Hardie Grant Books)

This spicy tofu dish was one of my favourites when I was living in China. Although it is mostly made with mince pork, a tiny street food vendor on my block served a meat-free version and I would pick up a bowl with some steaming white rice every week. No doubt it built up my tolerance for very spicy food.

Although mapo tofu is a Chinese dish, originating in Sichuan in the 1800s— a province famous for its chilli dishes— I managed to find one or two places that serve a meat-free versions in Hong Kong. Of course, I just had to try making my own vegan version at home to sate my cravings. Luckily, I happened across a recipe from Melbourne vegan queen Shannon Martinez, who owns the iconic Smith & Daughters vegan restaurant.

Her version brings that necessary sizzling hot quality, texture and plenty of taste. This recipe replaces the pork with plant based meat — I prefer to throw in textured rehydrated soy protein— and adds black fungus, and a home made Sichuan Chilli oil that gives it bite. This definitely hits the spot if you're craving a spicy dish.

Recipe from Vegan With Bite. Buy book here.


  • 500g block of silken tofu- cut into 2cm cubes

  • 200g plant based mince or rehydrated soy protein

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 25g black fungus or dried mushrooms, soaked, sliced

  • 3 spring onions, sliced, green and white parts separated

  • 6cm piece of ginger, peeled, very thinly sliced into matchsticks

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and grou