Japanese Mapo Tofu Udon Noodles
These spicy Japanese Mapo Tofu Udon Noodles are totally addictive, packed with flavour and ready in 10 minutes! A lighter take on the traditional Chinese version, it's a super satisfying dish perfect for lunch or dinner.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or wok over a high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and fry until deliciously fragrant (about 1 min).
Add the pork mince and continue to stir fry until browned.
Now it's time for the flavour! Add in your soy sauce, mirin, miso, doubanjiang (or black bean sauce if substituting), oyster sauce and sesame oil. Mix well until all the pork is evenly coated.
Mix corn starch and cold water in a separate bowl, then add to pork and stir until the sauce thickens.
Now it's time to add the tofu and udon noodles. Mix them carefully through the pork sauce to avoid breaking the tofu. Once the noodles have softened (after around 30 seconds) transfer to serving bowls. Garnish with green onion and enjoy!
Tips to get this recipe just right:
- Pork Mince - This recipe traditionally calls for pork mince, but you can substitute with any other kind of mince according to your preference. Why not try chicken or turkey for a lower calorie version, or fresh or rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, or plant-based mince "meat" for a vegan/vegetarian mapo tofu.
- Tofu - Use firm or medium firm tofu which will hold its shape better than soft or silken tofu.
- Udon Noodles - We use fresh homemade udon noodles, but you can use frozen or pre-packaged udon noodles if you prefer. Just cook them according to package directions before continuing with the recipe below.
- Doubanjiang - This is a spicy fermented bean paste which gives mapo tofu its savoury, salty and spicy flavour. You can buy it online, from your nearest Asian grocer, or substitute with black bean paste mixed with a sprinkling of red chilli flakes. In a pinch, you could use sambal oelek or Korean gochujang instead.
- Mirin - This is a sweet rice wine for cooking, if you can’t find it at your supermarket, you can omit or add in a 1/2 tsp of sugar instead. You can sometimes find this in regular supermarkets, otherwise head to your nearest Asian grocer or online.
- White Miso Paste - White miso (aka shiro miso) is sweeter than yellow or red miso and has a more subtle flavour. This helps to balance the salty doubanjiang / black bean paste and soy sauce without subtracting from their umami flavour. Check out our miso guide for a full breakdown.
- For Extra Flavour - Add freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns to taste. Start with a little at a time until you become familiar with the flavour and numbing effect!
Calories: 804kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 3428mg | Potassium: 523mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 3mg