Mapo tofu comes to us from the Szechuan province in central China, where it is a popular preparation of tofu braised in a spicy bean and chile sauce. Our version tones down the heat but still packs in plenty of flavor. A rich soy-based sauce flavored with our own Szechuan spice blend enrobes tender cubes of tofu served next to brown rice for a dish with a little kick.
Bring a small pot with 1 ½ cups water and rice to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender and water has been absorbed, 17-20 minutes.
Prepare the Ingredients
Mince garlic. Trim and thinly slice green onions on an angle, keeping white and green portions separate. Slice Fresno chile into thin rounds. Discard seeds and white membrane if you prefer less spice. Drain tofu and cut into 1" dice. Lay diced tofu on paper towels and dry thoroughly.
Make the Mapo Sauce
Combine vegetable base, soy sauce, sugar, half the garlic, 1 cup water, and cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Cook the Tofu
Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and tofu to hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 minutes, or until tofu is slightly browned. Add remaining garlic, Szechuan spice blend (add a small amount at first, taste, and add more if desired), white portion of green onions, and sugar snap peas and cook 1-2 minutes, or until sugar snaps are bright green.
Add the Mapo Sauce
Whisk mapo sauce to reincorporate any cornstarch that may have settled in mixing bowl. Add to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 3-4 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Taste, and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Plate the Dish
Place rice in a shallow bowl and pour mapo tofu around rice. Garnish with remaining green onions and Fresno chiles (to taste - they're spicy!). Look out for that Szechuan peppercorn "mouth buzz" - it's the best part of mapo tofu!