Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Mapo doufu. マーボー豆腐、麻婆豆腐。

Small squares of tofu in a mixture containing ground pork seasoned with leeks, ginger, sesame seed oil and soy sauce.

Originally a very hot dish called "mapo doufu" from Sichuan Province in China. The Chinese name is probably gibberish, but literally means something like: "Pockmarked-Face Old Woman's Tofu". Not a very attractive name for a food! It is more probable that the character "ma" refers to the numbing hotness of the original dish, rather then to a "pockmarked face."

In Japan, the dish is called "mabodofu" (マーボー豆腐). It was introduced by one Chen Kenmin who opened the first Sichuanese restaurant in Tokyo in the 1950s (according to Wikipedia). Chen adopted sweet bean paste in the recipe to make the dish less spicy and less oily - and so more to the Japanese taste.

It is one of the most popular Chuka dishes in Japan.

[Mabodofu. Photo Ad Blankestijn]