3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground
150g venison mince
300g mushrooms, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
5cm piece ginger, grated
2-3 tablespoons chilli bean sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee brand Toban Djan)
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
300g silken tofu, cut into 1cm cubes
chopped spring onion or coriander to serve

One of my all-time favourite dishes, mapo tofu is already a great example of a ‘less meat’ dish balanced with tofu. I like to cut that amount down even further using lots of chopped mushrooms for maximum taste and texture. I am using lean venison mince, but you could substitute any type of mince.


1.Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok over a medium-high heat.
2.Add the Sichuan peppercorns and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant, add the venison and stir fry until browned, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
3.Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt.
4.Stir fry for 5 minutes.
5.Add the garlic, ginger and chilli sauce and cook for 1 minute.
6.Combine the cornflour with 2 tablespoons of cold water and add to the wok along with 11⁄4 cups more water and the soy sauce and bring to a simmer.
7.Add the mince back along with the tofu.
8.Gently simmer for 10 minutes, trying not to break up the tofu too much.
9.Serve scattered with chopped spring onion or coriander with rice and steamed greens.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles

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