Even though the origin of Mapo tofu is from Sichuan, this dish has been so popular and has been served in all parts of China. Mapo tofu has been around since Qing Dynasty and each region adds their own spin to this dish. In Taiwan, the mapo tofu is sweeter and not as spicy. In some other region, Mapo tofu is SPICY!
While writing we ran into the question “What is mapo doufu and what does it taste like?”.
The color of your mapo doufu will vary with the color of your doubanjiang, which can range from bright red to reddish brown, but this is a dish that begs for the heft and depth of flavor provided by premium 3-year-old doubanjiang. A small helping of fermented black soybeans (dou chi).
Why is tofu white?
Tofu is white because it is made from soy milk not directly from soybeans. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, health-conscious, or simply love Asian cuisine, soybeans are amazing. They are served fresh, used to make tofu, soy sauce, soy milk, and other products, such as TVP (textured vegetable protein).
Another thing we wanted the answer to was, what determines the whiteness of tofu?
The whiteness of tofu is ultimately determined by the soybean variety, soybean protein composition and degree of aggregation of the tofu gel network.
Tofu is white as it’s made from soy milk. Soy milk is often white (or eggshell) and is made from mature soy beans which are actually beige or brown in color. The processing of these beans via water extraction and flavoring lead to the final milky white.
Why does tofu taste bland?
The addition of higher levels of calcium salts or a high protein content will contribute to forming a denser and more aggregated gel network which disperses more light, resulting in a tofu with a whiter appearance. Tofu flavour is generally described as bland, which is the taste desired by customers in North America.
Here’s how The Cookbook tells the story: During the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty, the wife of the owner of Chen Xing Sheng Restaurant invented a way to cook tofu, which featured distinct spicy flavor.
What is Ma Po tofu?
As renowned Chengdu chef and restaurateur Yu Bo told me when I visited, the key elements of ma po tofu are: “dou fu, niu rou, Pixian dou ban jiang! ” (tofu, beef, and Pixian chile bean sauce!). Mapo tofu is a hearty dish. Surrounded by mountains and located in a basin, Chengdu is known for its foggy weather (the smog doesn’t help either).