Mapa tofu

Mapadubu 마파두부

Mapa tofu (also called “mapo tofu” or “mapo doufu“) is one of the most popular Chinese Korean dishes in Korea along with jjajangmyeon and tangsuyuk. Koreans call this dish “mapa dubu.” I use chicken breast but you could use pork or beef. Every family seems to have their own version of mapadubu, and you could even use hot pepper paste if you want. The good thing about mapa tofu is that it’s a well balanced meal in one dish, made with cheap ingredients, and delicious. You won’t need any other side dishes with this. If you’re a vegetarian, skip the chicken and use vegetable stock instead of water, or use mushrooms.


1 package of tofu, chicken breast, green onions, green chili pepper, red chili pepper, dried red chili peppers, ground black pepper, carrot, onion, walnuts, garlic, ginger, vegetable oil, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and potato starch powder.



(makes 2-4 servings):
Cooking time: 40-50 minutes

  1. Take the tofu (14 oz: 400 grams) out of the package and rinse it in cold water. Pat dry with a kitchen towel or cotton cloth.
  2. Cut it into ½ inch cubes and set aside.
  3. Cut ½ pound (about 230 grams) of chicken breast into ½ inch cubes and set aside.
  4. Cut ¾ cup’s worth carrot (1 medium sized carrot) into ½ inch cubes and set aside.
  5. Cut 1½ cups’ worth of a large onion into chunks and set aside.
  6. Cut 7 stalks of green onions into pieces ¼ inch long and set aside.
  7. Chop 1 green chili pepper and 1 red chili pepper and set aside.
  8. Mince 4 cloves of garlic and 1 ts worth ginger and set aside.
  9. Heat up a wok and add 1-2 tbs vegetable oil.
  10. Add 3 small dried chili peppers, the minced garlic, and the ginger. Stir for 10-15 seconds.
  11. Add the chicken. Stir and cook for a few minutes.
  12. Add 1 ts ground black pepper, the chopped carrot and onion, ½ cup walnuts, ¼ cup oyster sauce, and 1 cup of water.
  13. Let it cook for 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the onion looks translucent.
  14. Add tofu and stir gently with a wooden spoon.
  15. Add the chopped green onions and green and red chili peppers.
  16. Stir occasionally and let it cook for a few minutes.
  17. Mix 1 tbs starch powder and 1 tbs water in a small bowl so the starch is dissolved. Then pour it into the wok gently.
  18. Add 1 ts sesame oil.
  19. Transfer to a wide bowl and serve hot with rice.




  1. JHV35 Australia My profile page joined 8/16
    Posted August 25th, 2016 at 9:56 pm | # |

    Ciao I love this recipe I come from , Italian and neatherland back ground and my husband is from Denmark and we love our vegetables because that is how we are used to eating , this will be one for safe keeping , I love it so Thankyou I love all your cooking shows

    TESORO ( treasure)

    See full size image

  2. mritty Ocoee, FL My profile page joined 1/15
    Posted June 4th, 2015 at 9:53 pm | # |

    Thank you for this recipe. I made it tonight for my (Korean) girlfriend, and she said she liked it very much! She’s vegetarian, so I used white mushrooms instead of chicken, and regular low sodium soy sauce instead of the oyster sauce – I should have read all the comments to see about combining the soy sauce with bean paste, I’ll try that next time. Only thing is she said it wasn’t quite like her Mom made while she was growing up, so we think next time I should add some gochuchang for a little more of a kick. Either way, I’m thrilled to be able to cook her some Korean foods she really enjoys. Thank you again!!

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted June 5th, 2015 at 11:07 am | # |

      Thank you for sharing the photo and the story about your cooking mapa tofu! It sounds very healthy and delicious! Congratulations!

  3. Cutemom Indonesia My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted February 25th, 2014 at 8:05 am | # |

    Hi! Maangchi ssi!

    As always your recipes are healthy and yummy. I made it this morning. I don’t have walnut so I skipped it. However, I use some Szechuan chili peppers. My best friend is married to a Szechuan girl so they just gave me a kg bag of the peppers. It was hot but great. Thank you so much, Maangchi ssi


  4. pamkitty Glasgow , Scotland , UK My profile page joined 9/08
    Posted August 20th, 2013 at 4:04 pm | # |

    can I add zucchini or courgette ? to this dish ?

  5. cherryblossom richland, wa My profile page joined 4/13
    Posted May 4th, 2013 at 8:05 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Your mapa tofu recipe is very good and without MSG. Thank you very much for sharing. I appreciate it.

  6. gogoboo China My profile page joined 4/13
    Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 1:06 am | # |

    hello maangchi! Just wondering what kind of walnut did you use? Most of walnuts I saw in the store are salted or sweetened. Even sometimes although the package doesn’t mention it, usually it still has salty flavour. Do I need to use the original one (without any flavour)?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 8:14 am | # |

      If you can’t find unflavored walnuts, just skip them. The dish will still be delicious. Good luck with making delicious mapa tofu!

  7. Q. D. C. My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted February 10th, 2013 at 2:24 pm | # |

    OMG!! I made this last night, and wish I’d made it x 7 so I’d have lots of leftovers to eat. My guests raved about it, I adored it. Wowza! – – a great recipe.

  8. Guus Amsterdam My profile page joined 12/11
    Posted December 12th, 2011 at 3:22 pm | # |

    I made this today and it turned out really tasty. The amount of chili pepper had me sweating a little bit, but not like it was really too much. So thanks for this, I’ll be making it again :).

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 11th, 2013 at 12:22 pm | # |

      Congratulations! “The amount of chili pepper had me sweating a little bit” yeah next time, I know what you will do. Use less spicy stuff to adjust to your taste!

  9. ayin142 Philadelphia, PA, USA My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 19th, 2011 at 12:10 pm | # |

    Makes my mouth water so much.
    Thank you for sharing, Maangchi! ^^

  10. IowaWhiteDevil Near Cedar Rapids, IA USA My profile page joined 6/11
    Posted November 15th, 2011 at 11:31 am | # |

    I’m going to say this half-apologetically since Mapadubu is really, as Maangchi stated, Schezwan Chinese and not so much Korean. (I’d say that Jajangmyeon by comparison is much more Korean even though it was originally based on the Chinese Zha jiang mian).

    However, this is possibly the best recipe on the site. I mean it’s the best Mapo Tofu that I’ve ever had, even at restaurants, bar none. It’s incredible and that is saying a lot because most of Maangchi’s recipes are great or the best I’ve tried!

    I had to make a couple of substitutions– I used some gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) instead of the dried hot peppers (I don’t use them often and I could only find huge bags)– I used a (sweet) red pepper instead of the red hot pepper which isn’t available in Iowa in November. I also used a serrano pepper rather than the better korean sytle pepper (which I have to grow to get here). (This, or the milder Anaheim, is a good substitution by the way in general.) But even with these substitutions it came out incredibly tasty.

    BTW, if you use the above substitutions, all ingredients except for the pepper flakes are available at Super Walmart! (But the dried peppers in the huge bag are available in the “ethnic” foods section near the Mexican food supplies!) This might be one of the only recipes on the site where it is completely unnecessary to have access to an Asian market.

    It’s wonderful.. thanks again Maangchi!

  11. Jerry Ko New York My profile page I'm a fan! joined 1/11
    Posted November 13th, 2011 at 11:56 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I always love coming to your site. This Mapa Tofu sounds really delicious and spicy. I think I will want to make it with the addition of Korean pepper paste.

  12. fstroupe NE Mississippi My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 12th, 2011 at 4:42 pm | # |

    Thank you Maangchi for the video. I think that now I will be able to talk my wife into eating tofu. Am now headed to the store to get the rest of what I need to cook this for dinner tonight!

    • fstroupe NE Mississippi My profile page joined 11/11
      Posted November 12th, 2011 at 8:29 pm | # |

      I think that it was the best stirfry that has ever been prepared on my stove!

  13. blake0108 Philippines My profile page joined 7/11
    Posted November 12th, 2011 at 4:47 am | # |

    Just made it today i just replaced chicken and tofu with fish (it was a rush decision so i never had the time to go out and buy tofu) and it was great even though water was added to while i was putting in the fish (the fish did not fully defrosted) but i think the ice that melt was enough

    it is so amazing and yummy

  14. jaylivg Houston My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted November 5th, 2011 at 7:20 pm | # |

    This was delicious Maangchi !!! although my mouth is still burning from the spiciness , i guess i put too many hot pepper LOL .. love this dish though !! thanks :D

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 5th, 2011 at 9:02 pm | # |

      oh great! You’ve made my day! hehe It’s 9:00 am in the morning though. : ) I’m in Singapore.

  15. larhie philippines My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 5th, 2011 at 7:22 am | # |

    i just did cook this recipe tonight and my mom loved it!! thanks♥

  16. Lizzie Argentina My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 4th, 2011 at 6:39 pm | # |

    I am cooking this tonight! Thanks Maangchi for the greata recipe

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 5th, 2011 at 9:03 pm | # |

      yummy! Yours must have been very tasty!

      • Lizzie Argentina My profile page joined 11/11
        Posted November 12th, 2011 at 10:52 pm | # |

        Thanks Maangchi!My husband loved it! I also tried this recipes with few variations acording to my hubby’s taste :) Thanks!!

  17. sweetchochomelk Vlaardingen - Netherland My profile page joined 10/11
    Posted November 4th, 2011 at 7:27 am | # |

    yummieeeeeeee, I’ll try next week Maangchi!! :)


    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted November 5th, 2011 at 9:04 pm | # |

      I know you have been busy cooking Korean food these days and I’m impressed by all your delicious food photos! Cheers!

  18. Niiaba California My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted November 3rd, 2011 at 9:44 pm | # |

    This looks amazing. I was wondering, is there anything I can use to replace oyster sauce? I am vegan and dont eat anything from animals :) I want to eat this so bad!!!

  19. jinpong Washington State My profile page joined 6/11
    Posted November 2nd, 2011 at 6:40 pm | # |

    looks delish! can’t wait to try and make your version:)

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