Mabodon or glistening tofu pork stir fry on rice

pork and tofu stir fry

what we’re going to make today

Mabodon or mabodofu, if served without rice, is another classic comfort food from Japan like country-style miso soup or basic onion miso soup.

The main ingredients are tofu, ground pork and chili paste. Variations include adding mushrooms, chingensai (bok choy) or green onions. Miso paste replaces the chili paste in the version here for a milder take.

And while you can buy prepared mixes where you add tofu, the homemade version is so much better!

What you’ll need

ground pork with ginger and garlic paste

Hitoshi’s way of adding the ginger and garlic paste to the raw ground pork.

Amounts are approximate and can be adjusted for taste or the amount of ingredients on hand.

This recipe easily serves two adults and one toddler.

We used 3 mushrooms and 2 bunches of baby chingensai in addition to the basic recipe.

Basic Mains

  • 400 grams ground pork (around this amount is no problem)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 350g tofu – cut into chunks (This is one package. A larger package is fine.)
  • drizzle of sesame oil
adding tofu to ground pork

any shape of tofu is fine although cubes are the normal form


  • 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp miso paste **if you want it spicy, replace the miso with chili paste

Potato Starch Sauce

  • 1 tbsp potato starch (katakuriko)
  • approximately 4 tbsp luke warm water *the sauce should be runny and the powder dissolved

Steps to delish

delicious chingensai steaming in a stir fry

chingensai or bok choi adds a distinctive flavour

  1. Fry the pork in a large dry (no oil) pan with ginger paste and garlic paste on medium-high until almost cooked.
  2. While the pork is cooking, mix the soy sauce, mirin and miso in a bowl to make the first sauce. The miso can stay chunky.
  3. **If you are using mushrooms, add them and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the tofu and gently fry for a couple of minutes.
  5. While the tofu is cooking, mix the potato starch with water in a small dish. Use your fingers to dissolve the powder in the water.
  6. **If you are using chingensai, add it and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the sauce from step 2 and stir fry the ingredients.
  8. Add the potato starch sauce and quickly incorporate it while stirring constantly.
  9. Turn the heat off and drizzle sesame oil on top.
  10. Serve warm on its own or over a bowl of white or brown Japanese rice.

Toppings can include chopped green onions and seven spices pepper (shichimi) like in the first photo. If you want a spicier pepper, try Sichuan pepper (sansho), which is usually sprinkled on grilled eel.

tofu and ground pork with seasoning

tofu that will soon glisten!

Have you tried a version of this recipe? How about the semi prepared boxed mixes? I ate a lot of these in Japan!

8 thoughts on “Mabodon or glistening tofu pork stir fry on rice

      • I do, but I have to be in the mood. I’ve been home for the last two weeks almost and I have not been excited about cooking. But it’s rainy at the moment and I have some good-looking soup and stir fry recipes that I’m keen to try, so I aim to get excited this weekend!!

  1. Droooooooling! I love mabodofu! It’s so so so so good. And now it’s the middle of the night and I’m hungry. ^^;
    YJ once prepared it with the semi prepared box-type (And no tofu, because he doesn’t like it…which defeats the whole point, argh!) but I found it to salty. Will definitely be giving this recipe a go. 😀 I also greatly approve of the addition of chingensai, one of my fave veggies!

    • Isn’t it the very best?? But… how does it rate against nabe?? Or chocolate?? ;D

      Oh no. Yes, the tofu is really quite critical. That’s like having grilled cheese sandwiches without the cheese. 😀

      Great! Let me know how it goes! I would appreciate this as sometimes other people making recipes H and I know well may not work. And yes! Chingensai can go with anything, can’t it! It’s got such an addictive and unique flavour. I overcooked it for the first, oh, 5 years until Hitoshi finally convinced me that less is more.

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