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


Koebi to tofu no mabo harusame / mapo bean vermicelli with bay shrimp and tofu (milder version)

This is a reduced-sodium version of the original koebi to tofu no mabo harusame recipe of October 2011. By cutting back on soy sauce, partially replacing tobanjan chili bean paste with taka no tsume red chili peppers and using Shaoxing wine and kurozu brown rice vinegar, this is milder and lighter while still being aromatic and clearly spicy. Some simple techniques are involved to bring out the most of the seasonings below.

1/2 of recipe:
298 calories; 17.7 g protein; 11.6 g fat; 28.1 g carbohydrate; 26.8 g net carbs; 430 mg sodium (with 50% reduced-sodium soy sauce; 697 mg with regular soy sauce); 75 mg cholesterol; 1.3 g fiber


100 g koebi bay shrimp
1/2 momen firm tofu (180 g yakidofu broiled tofu in photo)
1 bundle (50 g) harusame mung bean vermicelli
2 green onions (42 g in photo)
1 taka no tsume red chili pepper (slices in photo)

For seasoning
1/2 tsp tobanjan chili bean paste
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kurozu brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp soy sauce (50% reduced-sodium soy sauce in photo)
4 tbsp chicken stock

20-30 hua jiao Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp oil (not in photo)


Soak mung bean vermicelli in water to rehydrate (30+ minutes; if in a hurry, soak in hot water for a few minutes or microwave in water for 1 minute or so).

When soft enough (bendable, does not need to be totally soft), drain, and cut into 10 cm or so.


Finely chop green onions.
Cut tofu into cubes.


Mix all ingredients for seasoning, except for 1 tsp of soy sauce.


In a pot, heat oil, and fry hua jiao for a few minutes until fragrant.
Discard hua jiao.


Add green onions, and saute on medium heat.

When green onions start to cook, add taka no tsume, and continue sauteing.


Add bay shrimp, and stir.
Add tofu, and stir. 
Add mung bean vermicelli, and stir.


Pour seasoning mixture, mix, and simmer until mung bean vermicelli absorbs the seasoning and liquid is almost gone, while stirring occasionally.


Taste, add remaining soy sauce  as necessary (max. 1 tsp), stir, and cook until liquid is gone.

Ready to serve.

  • Yakidofu broiled tofu is made of momendofu (firm tofu), and contains less water than momendofu. You do not have to drain excess water prior to cooking.
  • Instead of cutting tofu into cubes, it can be crushed by hand as you add it to the pot.
  • I use homemade chicken stock, which contains much less sodium than store-bought stock.
  • The small amount of soy sauce added at the end is to give saltiness to the surfaces of food; your tongue will clearly sense the salty taste and trick you into being satisfied with the salt content. Cooking until liquid is gone is another key to intensifying the taste.
  • Make sure to taste before adding remaining soy sauce at the end. Depending on the amount of mung bean vermicelli and tofu, it may not be needed at all.

(Last updated: January 24, 2014)

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