Mapo Potatoes

Mapo Potatoes are a homestyle dish from Chongqing, cooked in the same Sichuan/Chongqing red-braised method as Mapo Tofu. China’s most famous “red-braise” cooking method is from Shanghai, and uses sugar, wine, and dark soy sauce. Chongqing’s “red-braise” cooking method uses Pixian broad bean sauce, Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, ginger.

At first glance, Mapo Potatoes sound like a western fusion fantasy, especially since this dish doesn’t show up in Sichuan/Chongqing restaurants. This is because Mapo Potatoes are a humble homestyle food. My good friend JiongXia from Chongqing often cooked these Mapo Potatoes when we cooked together in Nanjing. I learned the technique from her.

If you know how to cook mapo tofu, the cooking method is very similar, except that it braises longer so the potatoes slowly soften while absorbing flavor. My friend slices the potatoes about half an inch thick. If cut thicker, they will take longer to cook through. If cut thinner, the potatoes will fall apart. Serve with white rice and pair with other Chinese stir-fried dishes such as garlicky greens or gan-bian green beans.

mapo potatoes

1 kg waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold

2-3 tablespoons light oil

6 fat cloves garlic

an equal amount of ginger

2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns (hua jiao)

3 tablespoons Pixian broadbean sauce (doubanjiang)

2 teaspoons fermented black beans

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 1/2 cups water or veg broth

1-2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water

1-2 scallions for garnish


Peel the potatoes. Slice the potatoes 1/2-inch thick. Soak the potato sliced in a large bowl of water while you prep the garlic and ginger.

Mince the garlic and ginger. Grind the Sichuan peppercorns in a spice grinder. Divide the ground Sichuan peppercorns in half.

Heat the oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and ginger. When fragrant, add half of the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Sauté about 10-30 seconds. Add the broad bean sauce and fermented black beans. Sauté about 1 minute.

Add the water or broth, soy sauce, and potatoes. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the wok, and let it braise about 15-20 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat.

Combine the cornstarch with the cold water to form a slurry. Drizzle over the potatoes and combine.

Garnish with the remaining ground Sichuan peppercorns and sliced green onions. Serve with plain white rice.

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