Mápó dòufu, or mápó tòfu, is a popular Chinese dish from the Sichuan (Szechuan) province. It is a combination of tofu (bean curd) set in a spicy chili- and bean-based sauce, typically a thin, oily, and bright red suspension, and often cooked with fermented black beans and minced meat, usually pork.
Many westerners still see Tofu as a food for salad munchers but in China it is a staple and can be made in many creative forms. I was not a big fan when I arrived here three years ago, more because of the texture and taste rather than the concern for my reputation but I think it’s awesome now. High in protein, low in fat (until swimming in oil!) and the Mapu Doufu is covered in Szechuan pepper which is not for the faint hearted.
Matthieu is an expert in this particular dish and you can see him talk through the secrets to making an excellent Mapo Doufu at 1min 32sec of the video diary from the Sichuan trip here.
More info on the history, ingredients, folklore and everything else you could possibly know about Mapo Doufu. Alternatively just get down your local Szechuan gaff and ask for it with extra peppercorns 😉