RedHotKeto Mapo Tofu

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

A Keto Twist on a Traditional Chinese Dish

*This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. Thanks.

After posting our recipe for Chinese Braised Beef Soup, we had a lot of positive feedback. The thing that struck me most was that some of the ingredients were quite new to people.

"What's a Doubanjiang?"

"What is Shaoxing wine and where do I find it?"

Many people have probably had these ingredients and not realized it. These ingredients are found in a dish that is common in western-Chinese restaurants: Mapo Tofu.

There are many slight regional variations of Mapo Tofu, but they are based on the same idea; tofu flavoured with ground meat and spicy sauce.

Our version of the recipe increased meat ratios, and adjusted to make the dish more keto- friendly. Overall, however, we've kept the basics intact.

Mapo tofu is a spicy dish originating in the Szechuan province of China This area utilizes chilis in their cuisine more than other areas of China.

There is a traditional heat from the chili peppers used in the recipe, as well as a "numbing" sensation from the Szechuan peppercorns. The numbing sensation is distinct to Szechuan cuisine.

Traditionally eaten over rice, we like to enjoy this dish over a big bowl of bean sprouts.

Keto Mapo Tofu Recipe

To get started, you should first fry the aromatics in oil to release the flavours. Add the minced garlic, ginger, and ground Szechuan peppercorns with the coconut oil in a saucepan and fry them over medium high heat for about 30 seconds. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

When the beef is browned, push to one side and add the doubanjiang. Fry the doubanjiang in the oil for about 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant and add the dried chilies. Mix into the ground beef. Add the chicken stock and let it simmer for a couple minutes.

The sauce can be kept thin, or thickened with cornstarch. Since we won't be using rice to soak up the sauce, I like to thicken it slightly with a bit of xanthan gum. This will help coat any vegetables it's being served over.

While the sauce is simmering, dust the xanthan gum into a half cup of water while mixing vigorously. If added too quickly, the xanthan gum will clump. Add the xanthan gum to the pan and simmer for another couple minutes.


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced

  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp ground Szechuan peppercorns

  • 4 dried chilies, roughly chopped

  • 1 lb lean ground beef

  • 1 lb firm tofu

  • 2 tbsp doubanjiang

  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock


  1. Heat coconut oil in a pan and add the garlic, ginger, and Szechuan peppercorns. Fry for about 30 seconds over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the ground beef and cook until browned.

  3. Push the ground beef to one side and add doubanjiang. Fry for 30 seconds then add the dried chilies. Mix with the ground beef.

  4. Add the chicken stock and simmer for a couple minutes.

  5. Mix the xanthan gum with water and pour into pan. Simmer for a couple minutes until thickened.

  6. Gently fold in the tofu and simmer for another minute.

NUTRITION INFO Per Serving (5 servings)

335.8 calories

22.8g fat

3.6 net carbs

26g protein

Have you got a version of Mapo Tofu to share? We'd love to see yours. As always, follow along for more Keto recipes!


Recent Posts

See All