Hot Tingle Mapo Tofu Inspired Hot Sauce

By Mieke

I’ve always wanted to make my own hot sauce. But I have such a long list of things I’ve always wanted to make from scratch I never got round to it before. Then a friend asked me some tips on making baked vegan wings and the hot sauce bug was back on the menu.

The issue I have with store-bought hot sauce is that the good stuff is often expensive, especially when you have to import it. And because taste is so personal you’re never quite sure what you’re getting.

Hot Sauce Research

So I got back on track with my hot sauce plans. Chili Pepper Madness has a great article on the foundations of what kind of hot sauces there are and how to make them. So that’s where I started.

Then I started thinking about flavors. I don’t like my hot sauce overtly hot, I want flavor, not burn. That sort of nonsense is for white people.

I do like my hot sauce kind of gritty texture wise. And I wanted it to be umami rich, with smoky undertones. I settled on this idea I had years ago, which is to make a mapo tofu flavored hot sauce. I used the spices from Lucky Peach’s Power Vegetable mushroom mapo tofu recipe, with the foundation for a basic Louisana style hot sauce from Chili Pepper Madness.

Mapo Hot Sauce Uses and a Name!

The result is pretty awesome. If I do say so myself. I’ve plonked it on eggs, crispy oven-baked tofu puffs and chicken and used it to make a really sumptuous vegan spicy noodle bowl with silken tofu.

I have not tested the acidity levels yet, so I’m not sure how long this keeps. Given that it’s drowning in oil, vinegar and fermented goods, I’d imagine basically until you see mold on it. Which hasn’t been the case for me yet, staring at it for the past couple of weeks or so.

I have named her: Hot Tingle Hot Sauce. After some hot tingle noodles I saw at the Asian supermarket here.

The next step of course would be to make my own doubanjiang and spicy chili crisp before making this. But hey, baby steps.

Mapo tofu inspired hot sauce

Dorothy Porker
A course umami rich hot sauce with smoky undertones combining the basics for a Louisiana vinegar based hot sauce with the depth of flavor from mapo tofu.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dip, Sauce
Cuisine American, Asian, Chinese, Louisiana, Sichuan


  • Food processor
  • Small saucepan
  • Glass bottle or jar, sterilized
  • Sieve, optional


  • 6-8 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 T - 30 gr ginger peeled and cut into pieces, weigh after peeling
  • 8 T - 120 gr doubanjiang this is a fermented broad and soy bean paste, find it at your local Asian supermarket
  • 8 T - 120 gr spicy chili crisp no nuts, Lao Gan Ma is my brand of choice
  • 8 t - 40 gr Sichuan peppercorns stems and black seeds removed
  • 4 t - 20 gr gochugaru ground Korean chili flakes, best not substituted
  • 1 1/2 c - 375 ml rice wine vinegar


  • Place all the ingredients, except the vinegar, in a food processor and blend until you get to as fine a paste as possible.
  • Dump the paste into a small saucepan with 1 1/2 c - 375 ml of rice wine vinegar and bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Place the mixture back into your food processor or a blender and blend again until you get a semi-fine sauce.
  • I like my sauce coarse and pulpy, but if you want a thin even sauce you can run the sauce through a fine sieve to get any grit out.
  • Bottle the sauce in sterilized glass bottles or jars. I sterilize my jars by running them through the hottest cycle in my dishwasher, this should be enough for home sterilizing in most cases.
  • Shake before use.


This sauce should keep for up to 1 month in a closed container in the fridge. 
Keyword home made, hot sauce, mapo, mapo tofu, sichuan

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