“Mapo tofu is one of my favourite dishes,” says chef Josh Niland. “The spicy sichuan ingredients mixed with the minerality and richness of the tuna and the creaminess of the tofu is such a good match. I promise you won’t miss the traditional recipe once you’ve tried this version.”

Josh Niland’s tuna mapo tofu recipe
(Rob Palmer/PA)
Josh Niland’s tuna mapo tofu recipe
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Tuna mapo tofu
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1068 Calories from Fat 558
% Daily Value*
Fat 62g95%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 39g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 108mg36%
Sodium 3069mg133%
Potassium 1217mg35%
Carbohydrates 60g20%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 33g37%
Protein 71g142%
Vitamin A 303IU6%
Vitamin C 27mg33%
Calcium 232mg23%
Iron 10mg56%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Tuna mapo tofu

Tuna mince is the star of this dish
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 1068kcal
Author: Josh Niland


  • Mortar and pestle
  • Food processor
  • Heavy-based saucepan
  • serving bowls


  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 190 grams fresh ginger peeled
  • 190 grams garlic cloves peeled
  • 10 french shallots peeled
  • 375 grams doubanjiang (fermented broad bean paste)
  • 300 ml grape-seed oil
  • 80 ml shaoxing rice wine
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 125 ml tamari
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1.8 kg tuna minced/ground
  • 200 grams silken tofu cut into small cubes
  • 1 bunch spring onions finely sliced
  • 40 grams toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 red chilli dried, finely sliced (optional)
  • short-grain rice steamed, to serve


  • Toast the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry frying pan until fragrant, then use a mortar and pestle to grind to a rough powder. Set aside.
  • Place the ginger, garlic, shallots, doubanjiang and 150ml (5 fl oz) of the grape-seed oil in a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste.
  • Heat 100ml (3½ fl oz) of the remaining grape-seed oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Add the paste and fry, stirring occasionally, for eight to 10 minutes until dried and fragrant, then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 15 minutes, until the rawness from the vegetables has been completely cooked out. Stir in the shaoxing wine, sugar, tamari and one-third of the ground Sichuan peppercorns, then spoon the mixture into a large bowl.
  • Wipe out the pan, add the sesame oil and remaining two-and-a-half tablespoons of grape-seed oil and heat over a high heat. Working in two batches, add the tuna mince to the pan and fry for two minutes, or until the mince is coloured and has separated into individual strands, then stir through the fried paste mixture to combine.
  • To assemble the mapo tofu, return the tuna mixture to the saucepan and warm through over a low heat. Add the tofu, cover with a lid and heat for three minutes, then spoon into serving bowls. Top with the spring onion, sesame seeds, chilli, if using, and the remaining ground Sichuan peppercorns.
  • Serve with steamed rice, if you like.


Calories: 1068kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 71g | Fat: 62g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 39g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 3069mg | Potassium: 1217mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 303IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 232mg | Iron: 10mg


Take One Fish: The New School Of Scale-to-Tail Cooking And Eating by Josh Niland is published by Hardie Grant. Photography by Rob Palmer.

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