Korean-style mapo tofu

Mapadubu 마파두부

I’m excited to share my Korean-style mapo tofu (mapadubu: 마파두부) recipe with you today!

If you’ve been cooking Korean dishes for a while, I’m sure you have some Korean sauces and pastes stocked in your pantry or refrigerator by now. Using what you have already, you can make this dish very easily! Mapadubu is originally a Chinese dish, but we Koreans Koreanized our own version. Years ago I posted a recipe for Chinese-style mapadubu, but this time I want to show you a Korean-style version, using Korean ingredients.

It’s a simple recipe but it looks so gorgeous when it’s placed on the dinner table! Of course it tastes so good, too: smooth tofu, firm pork bits, and vegetables with a generous amount of spicy and smoky saucy broth! Everybody at the table will be excited to scoop some of it and enjoy it mixed with warm rice!

One good thing about this dish is that you don’t need to prepare any soup or stew to serve it with, as we usually do for Korean meals. It’s plenty moist enough when mixed with rice, so that’s all you need. I used 1 package of tofu, which where I live happens to be 1 pound (453 grams). You can tell your family or friends, “Give me 1 package of tofu, then I will make something delicious for all of you!” : )

Be sure to stir fry the pork until it’s just a little crispy. If you’re not a big fan of pork, use chicken or beef , and to make a vegetarian version, use mushrooms instead of meat and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and add them in step 4 along with vegetables.mapotofu-(mapadubu--마파두부)


Serves 3 to 4

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon peeled ginger, minced
  • 8 ounces pork shoulder (or chicken or beef), cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 medium onion (about 1 cup), cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 2 mild green chili peppers (or ½ of green bell pepper), chopped
  • 8 green onions, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1¼ cup unsalted chicken or beef stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 pound tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

cubing pork


  1. Heat up a large skillet or a pan over medium high heat. Add vegetable oil, garlic, and ginger, stirring with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic turns light brown and crispy and the oil smells fragrant.frying garlicfried garlic
  2. Add the pork, kosher salt, and ground black pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring with the wooden spoon until the pork turns a little crunchy.Adding salt
  3. Stir in hot pepper flakes for about 30 seconds until it bubbles and smells a little smoky.
  4. Add the onion, green chili pepper, and green onion. Stir for 1 minute until the vegetables turn slightly withered.mapotofu-(mapadubu--마파두부)
  5. Stir in soy sauce and hot pepper paste.
  6. Add 1 cup chicken broth and cook for about 2 minutes until vigorously boiling.
  7. Add the tofu cubes and gently mix with a wooden spoon, careful not to break up the tofu. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until the tofu turns soft.stirring
  8. While the tofu is cooking, combine the rest of the ¼ cup chicken broth and potato starch in a small bowl and mix it well. Add it to the boiling mapo tofu and gently stir it in with a wooden spoon to thicken the sauce.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.finished
  10. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Serve with rice, kimchi, and a few more side dishes.


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  1. kcraig Connecticut, USA joined 1/23 & has 1 comment

    thank you for this delicious recipe, Maangchi! I made it with ground pork and confess to using half the gochujuang which was perfect for my heat tolerance. Your videos are a joy to watch!

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  2. smileypeas Birmingham, UK joined 5/21 & has 2 comments

    I made mapadubu a few days ago! I used minced chicken breast instead of pork, but I imagine chopped chicken thigh would have added a deeper flavour. However it was SO delicious! A little spicy, green-tasting and oniony, sweet (I added teaspoon of sugar) and smoky. It’s a quite heavy dish, with lots of protein so it’s nicely filling. I served with sushi rice, kimchi and sigeumchi-namul. Actually the taste is similar to a meaty curry which made this dish comforting to me as someone who grew up eating Bangladeshi food :)

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  3. jillzee NY joined 12/20 & has 2 comments

    This was fantastic! I love “normal” mapo tofu, and was excited to try your version, Maangchi. It was delicious and easy. I did not have a full pound of tofu, so I made up the rest of the amount with white mushrooms and loved them in there. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  4. Nayko france joined 10/18 & has 34 comments

    I’m such a big fan of this dish in its original Szechuan version that it’s gonna be difficult for me to cook it in an other version…
    But I’m also a big fan of Korean recipes so… I’ll let you know how it ends ;)

  5. a_westervelt Portland OR USA joined 10/20 & has 7 comments

    This was so yummy! I replaced the beef with cremini mushrooms and I used vegetarian friendly “beef” broth. Easy dish to make on a work night and no unusual ingredients that I needed to make a special trip to the Korean market. I highly recommend this recipe. Thanks again, Maangchi!!

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