All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Ebichiri mabo / prawns and tofu in spicy black bean tomato sauce

Tomatoey and spicy.


2 roma tomatoes
1 tofu (soft or firm)
Handful prawns
2-3 tbsp potato starch (for coating and boiling prawns)
2-3 tbsp sake (for boiling prawns, not in photo)
1 clove garlic
1 knob ginger
2 green onions
1 tsp tochijan black bean paste
100 cc chicken stock
2 tbsp Shaoxing (Shaohsing) wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp tobanjan chili bean paste
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp potato starch + 1-2 tbsp water mixture
1-2 tsp oil (not in photo)


Peel tomatoes by quickly boiling.
Core, cut skin surface crisscross, put in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, place in ice water, and peel.


Dice tomatoes.
Finely chop garlic, ginger and green onions.

Wash prawns with potato starch.


Mix chicken stock, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, tobanjan and sugar, and set aside.


In a pot, heat oil, and saute garlic, ginger, white sections of green onions and tochijan on medium low to low until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, raise heat somewhat, and cook until tomatoes become paste.


In the meantime, prep boil prawns.
Boil water, and add sake.

Coat prawns with potato starch, and quickly boil.

When color changes, remove from water.


Cut tofu on your palm (if using soft tofu), and add to tomato mixture.

Add chicken stock and seasoning mixture, and cook until tofu takes on flavor. Raise heat if watery.


Add potato starch + water mixture to thicken liquid. Add 1/2 of the specified amount at first, stir, and add more if necessary.

Add prawns and green sections of green onions, and stir. Ready to serve.

  • Prawns would be deep-fried for this kind of dish if served at a restaurant. Quickly boiling gives the same plump texture while substantially cutting the calories and offering a milder flavor. Chinese food is not always greasy.
  • Tobanjan can be very spicy. Adjust the amount according to your preference.
  • If you are not accustomed to using potato starch to thicken liquids, it is a good idea to add slightly more water to the potato starch + water mixture, remove the pot from heat when adding it, and stir quickly and wait a bit before adding more potato starch mixture. Potato starch can thicken liquids quite quickly (much faster than corn starch or flour), and making the mixture thinner (with more water) slows it down somewhat. Sauces become very gooey if you add too much potato starch + water mixture -- something to be avoided.
  • This dish is not exactly mapo tofu, but the combination of tofu and tochijan makes the name appropriate, at least for me.

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