Posts Tagged ‘chinese’

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sichuan blistered green beans

October 22, 2019

Dry-frying is a seriously under-utilized technique! Beyond the obvious health benefits of using little to no oil, dry-frying veggies lends an amazing texture, almost like they have been grilled. They’re blistered and blackened in spots on the surface, but stay crisp in the middle. This method of cooking is so fast that the veggies maintain lots of nutrients. Super healthy, but WAY tastier than anything that seems like it could be healthy.

Remember my post about blistered asparagus? Similar idea, but we’re doing the green beans in a wok or skillet instead of baking.

In the summer, I make mine without pork. Why? I mean, I love pork, and lots of Sichuan recipes like mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) just don’t taste right without the pork. However, summer green beans from my local farmers market have such an incredible flavor. It’s really not necessary to add any meat! I also made it without the sui mi ya cai (pickled greens) because I am trying to watch my sodium. So I’ll post two recipes here – the original, by Maggie Zhu of Omnivore’s Cookbook, which is authentic. My version is lower in salt, lower in cholesterol and fats, and something you could eat every week! (or, at least, I could…)

Probably my favorite green bean recipe!

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RECIPE #1 – adapted by me
Sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
pinch of sugar

Stir fry
tiny splash of veggie oil, just enough that the beans don’t stick to the skillet
1 pound (450 grams) green beans, tough ends removed
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1. Heat wok or skillet on med-high to high heat with splash of oil until wok is rippin’ hot.
2. Throw in green beans. Keep them moving, stirring every thirty seconds. Turn down heat if wok produces too much smoke.
3. Remove green beans when they look nice and blistered. Add another splash of oil and turn down heat to medium.
4. Add Sichuan peppercorns to oil. Remove peppercorns when they turn brown.
5. Add chilis, ginger, and garlic. Keep stirring til your kitchen smells great (maybe 1 minute).
6. Add green beans back to chili-ginger-garlic oil in wok. Stir to coat and turn off heat.

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RECIPE #2 the original, by Maggie Zhu of Omnivore’s Cookbook

Sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (note: this is, for real, a lot)

Stir fry
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound (450 grams) green beans
1/2 pound (220 grams) ground pork
3 tablespoons minced Sichuan pickled mustard greens (Sui Mi Ya Cai)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
1 teaspoon ginger , minced

1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Dry the green beans thoroughly before cooking to prevent oil splatter.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the green beans and stir to coat well with oil. Spread the beans to prevent them from overlapping, as much as possible. Flip every 15 seconds or so. Cook and stir until the surface is mostly brown and withered, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn to medium heat if the pan starts to smoke too much. Remove the pan from the stove. Transfer the green beans to a plate and set aside. (*Footnote 4)
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the peppercorns turn dark. Scoop out and save for later. (*Footnote 5)
4. Add the ground pork, Sichuan pickled mustard greens, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and chop the pork to separate it into small pieces. When the surface of the pork turns golden, add the dried chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir a few seconds to release the fragrance. Add back the green beans and pour the sauce over them. Cook and stir until the sauce is mostly absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the stove and taste a green bean. If it’s not salty enough, add a pinch more salt, return the pan to the stove, and stir to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate.
6. Serve hot on top of rice as a main, or as a side.

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If you like your green beans texturally interesting and incredibly flavorful, you have to try this recipe! If you prefer them stewed, can I recommend fasolakia, green beans stewed in oniony tomato sauce? If you like them sour, nothing is better than some lacto-fermented green beans. & if you like your green beans way sweeter, try this Americanized version of Sichuan green beans with hoisin.

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chinese twice-cooked fish

October 15, 2019

Craving some Chinese restaurant food? This uses only a few ingredients, but since they are fermented, the flavor is complex. Great, simple way to cook some fresh fish. Recipe by by Elaine, loosely based on a twice-cooked pork recipe.

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marinade:
1 fish fillet, around 600 grams
1 tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
a little shredded ginger – original calls for “5-6 sheds”(?)
cornstarch for coating

stir-fry:
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 tbsp. red bean paste (doubanjiang)
1 tbsp. fermented black beans (dou-chi)
1 thumb ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chili pepper, shredded
scallions or garlic chives (one or two, or more to taste)
1 tbsp. light soy sauce

1. Cut the fish into pieces around 2cm thick. Add cooking wine, ginger shreds, soy sauce, salt and sugar. Set aside and marinate for 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle corn starch over fish – she suggests 1/4 c – until coated. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, until corn starch gets gummy.

3. Add 1/4 cup of oil to a pan or wok on medium-high heat, and shallow fry the fish pieces until golden brown on surface. Move fish to plate; keep pan on heat.

4. Leave around 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan, turn down heat, and fry doubanjiang for 1 minute until the red turns red. Add garlic, ginger and dou-chi and fry until aromatic.

5. Place chili peppers, scallion sections and garlic sprouts in. Fry until almost soft and return the fish, add light soy sauce and salt. Mix well. Serve immediately.

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recipe by china sichuan food and adapted by me, friedsig

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I love how this still allows some fish flavor to come through – it’s not deep-fried – and the shallow pan-fry allows the fish to stay moist and not overcook. The flavor isn’t exactly subtle, depending on your doubanjiang and other ingredients, so it’s nowhere near bland. Just right. (If you have some nasty frozen fish with a bad flavor, you may want to try something like fish cakes. If you’re set on this dish, though, you could probably beef up the flavor of this dish with chili oil, more scallions or garlic chives, more garlic, and more bean paste.) I splurged on some fresh lake trout, and still got plenty of fresh fish flavor since I reduced the chili and scallions. I also removed all the salt in the recipe because the ingredients are way more than salty enough for me, but of course, if you like it salty, add a pinch of salt.

Definitely recommended if you want something straddling the line between “healthy” and “fried”. Another keeper from Elaine!

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liangban tofu (chilled soft tofu salad)

July 31, 2019

ten minutes til a quick snack full of protein, all nine essential amino acids, iron, calcium, magnesium, and more…

one block soft tofu
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon black vinegar
2 fresh Thai peppers (you can replace it with chili oil)
1/2 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 green onion, finely chopped
minced cilantro, to taste
toasted Sichuan peppercorns, to taste

1. cube tofu and steam for ten minutes
2. separately, mix together all other ingredients
3. dump ingredients on top of tofu and refrigerate

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adapted from china sichuan food and tim elwyn

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my favorite tofu is definitely mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) and my favorite junk food tofu is crispy vegan kung pao tofu

…but what if you don’t have an hour to press and fry tofu? what if you like mapo tofu but you don’t eat pork?

THIS is my new go-to quick tofu recipe for lazy vegans. it’s a great summer recipe, too, since you don’t have to kick your wok up to high heat.

i wasn’t completely smitten with it when i first tasted it, but once the tofu sucked up the sauce, i had no trouble eating an entire brick of tofu myself.

if you don’t care for wild splattering oil, if you’re on a diet, if you’re not into pork, if you’re in a rush, or on a soft food diet after surgery or dental problems, or if you’re just too lazy to cook, i definitely recommend this!

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sichuan cucumber salad

April 9, 2019

perfect fresh, sour, crunchy foil to anything heavy. equally amazing served as a side with a rich pork meal (like dandanmian) – a crunchy topper for your salad – or just a mid-day snack.

smash or slice cucumbers into your favorite shape and size

top with any combination of the following:

– splash of sesame oil and/or hot chili oil (make your own with dry chilis and canola/veg oil, or use leftover dandanmian oil – easy substitution would be canola oil with a pinch of cayenne or hot sauce)
– splash of tamari or soy sauce
– pinch of sugar
– pinch of salt
– toasted Sichuan peppercorns
– splash of black vinegar (if you don’t have chinkiang vinegar, rice wine vinegar or apple cider will do)

if you want to get wild, add:
– pinch of toasted sesame seeds
– pinch of minced ginger and/or garlic

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adapted by friedsig from lots of sources, especially richard hsiao’s pickled cukes, but also China Sichuan food, appetite for China, and omnivore’s kitchen

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absolutely fantastic. perfect summery recipe. dare you not to eat the whole thing! it’s really more of a quick pickle than a salad, so let flavors absorb for at least an hour before eating (if you can resist the urge to eat it all immediately)

without question my best cucumber salad recipe besides fattoush and a plain-yogurt-and-dill thing i make in high summer. try this!!!

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mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐)

March 25, 2019

Quest for the perfect mapo tofu!

VERSION 1 – a sweet, Americanized version by Shirley Cheng for epicurious

•1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
•1 1/2 pounds soft (not silken) tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
•2 tablespoons Chinese hot bean paste (also called chili bean sauce)
•1 tablespoon Chinese black-bean paste or sauce
•4 tablespoons oyster sauce (note: this is too much, and will make your dish very, very sweet)
•2 tablespoons Asian chili powder (note: this is clearly too much for most westerners; add a little at first and more to taste)
•1 tablespoon cornstarch
•1/4 cup peanut oil (I mixed in some hot chili oil from dan dan noodles)
•4 ounces ground beef
•1 (1/4-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced on diagonal
•1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
•1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), washed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 1/2 cup)
•1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
•1 tablespoon light soy sauce
•1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

recipe by Shirley Cheng for epicurious

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VERSION 2 – from omnivore’s cookbook

•120 grams (4 ounces) ground meat (pork, chicken or turkey)
•2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine (or Japanese Sake)
•1 teaspoon light soy sauce
•1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

For braising
•1 teaspoon cornstarch
•2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns (increase to 3 teaspoons if you like your dish extra numbing)
•1 tablespoon vegetable oil
•3 tablespoons Doubanjiang spicy fermented bean paste
•2 tablespoons green onion, chopped (note: I didn’t have any, so I used 2 cloves of garlic)
•1 block (400-g / 14-oz) firm or medium firm tofu , cut into 1.5cm (1/2 inch) squares
•1 cup water or stock
•2 teaspoons Chinese chili oil; 1 teaspoon for a less spicy dish (note: for a mild dan dan noodle chili oil, you will need all 2 teaspoons.)
•1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
•1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
rice or another grain to serve

1. Combine ground meat/veg, cooking wine, soy sauce, and ginger in a bowl. Mix well.

2. Combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.

3. Cut and prep ingredients.

4. Heat vegetable oil and Sichuan peppercorns in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When the Sichuan peppercorns turn dark brown and crispy, scoop them out with spatula and transfer into a bowl layered with paper towel to soak extra oil. Save to use for garnish the dish.

5. When oil is hot, add ground meat and bean paste. Stir-fry over medium heat with a spatula, until pork is evenly coated with bean paste. Add green onion and stir fry for another minute.

6. Spread tofu evenly on top of ground pork – don’t stir until it braises for a few minutes, so the tofu doesn’t fall apart. Add chili oil, five-spice powder, and sugar. Pour in broth/water and simmer, covered, over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until tofu becomes tender and the sauce has reduced to half the original amount. Taste the tofu with some broth. Adjust seasoning by adding salt. If the dish is too spicy, add another teaspoon of sugar. Gently mix well with spatula.

7. Mix cornstarch water again until fully dissolved and swirl it into the skillet. Gently stir a few times with a spatula, until sauce thickens. Turn off heat and transfer everything to a bowl.

8. Garnish with green onion and Sichuan peppercorns, if using. Serve warm over rice or another grain.

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VERSION 3 – from iron chef chen

1 package silken tofu
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
water, for parboiling tofu

3 ounces ground pork
1⁄2 cup green garlic chives, chopped in 1/2 inches (nira)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chinese chili bean sauce (toubanjan or doubanjiang)
1 tablespoon chinese brown bean sauce (tenmienjan, tenmenjan, or tenmenjiang)
2 teaspoons fermented black beans, chopped finely
1⁄4 – 1⁄2 teaspoon ichimi togarashi pepper or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon japanese dried red chili pepper, minced
1 teaspoon chili oil
3⁄4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon sake or 1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon szechuan peppercorn (optional)

Cornstarch paste: 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water

Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes. Heat enough water in a large saucepan, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and tofu pieces. Bring to boil and cook tofu on medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes and remove from heat. Precooking tofu in water prevents tofu from breaking apart easily later. Set aside.
While tofu is cooking, make cornstarch paste by mixing 1 T cornstarch and 1 T water. Set aside.
Set wok on high heat for 1 minute until hot. Add 2 T vegetable oil and swirl the pan, then add ground pork, stirring to separate.
When ground pork is browned, add Chinese brown bean sauce ie tenmenjan, tenmienjan, or tenmenjiang, Chinese chili bean sauce ie toubanjan or doubanjiang, fermented black beans, and ichimi tougarashi or minced dried red chili pepper. Continue to cook for 1 minute.
Add chili oil, drained tofu pieces, chicken stock, garlic chives, soy sauce, and sake. Stir fry gently for 1-2 minutes.
Add cornstarch paste to thicken and add sesame oil. Swirl gently and cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium high heat. Sprinkle Szechuan peppercorn on top.
Serve with steamed white rice.

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RECIPE 1: I’ll be honest – I hardly followed the recipe. I made my own low-sodium versions of bean paste, since I ran out of fermented bean paste a few months ago. I combined miso, a homemade version of hoisin with peanut butter and tamari… the substitutions were a mess. Sherry for Shaoxing wine, sesame oil for peanut oil… I barely had anything the recipe called for at all. But this was still one of the best things I made all winter.

Hits all those comfort food notes. Greasy, sweet, salty, savory, texturally interesting, and absolutely numbing and spicy. Just… yes. I used some extra chili oil from last month’s batch of dan dan noodles (dandanmian), and a ton of Sichuan peppercorns toasted and ground, although nowhere near the teaspoon called for in the recipe.

A comment on the Epi review recommends iron chef Chen‘s recipe as slightly more authentic and less sweet. Since I used half my oyster sauce on this recipe, I’ll definitely try it.

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RECIPE 2: I was worried it’d be too spicy, so I cut the bean paste from 3T to 2T. It wasn’t spicy enough last night, but the leftovers sat and got spicier and spicier! Today it was just perfect. I’d say cut it to 2T if you’re making it for tomorrow. Otherwise, go for the whole 3T! Very different from the super-sweet oyster sauce version. They’re both so good! I would say version two is a little more savory and simple, and recipe one is a little more of a flavor bomb, much saltier and sweeter. The first is perfect for American palates, and the second is great for people who don’t care for sweet food. I highly recommend both! I can’t wait to try iron chef Chen‘s recipe to complete this trifecta of tofu!

Added this to the “rotation” tag because I plan to try all the different versions of this amazing dish. I made this twice so far in March. What a rad way to use up the last little bit of ground meat in your fridge!

 

edit: help I can’t stop eating this incredible spicy meal

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RECIPE 3: (July, 2019) I’m guessing this is the most authentic, as it tastes the least like something from an Americanized Chinese restaurant. Recipe #1 is way too sweet, even for me, but it’s really delicious if you like it sweet. Recipe #2 is super flavorful. Recipe #3 is definitely more subtle. I splurged on some fermented black beans this year, and I really liked their subtle flavor in this. I definitely recommend recipe #3 – it’s delicious.

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BEST MAPO TOFU EVER: for my tastes, I prefer recipe #2 with some alterations. Next, I will start combining all these recipes – a little oyster sauce or hoisin from recipe #1, a ton of chives from recipe #3, using the skeleton of recipe #2. I have made this no less than five times this year!

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eight treasure congee (八宝粥)

March 5, 2019

If you want something warm, thick, and comforting – something that will stick to your ribs and keep you full – you’re in the right place. It’s -20F with wind chill here right now, and this was amazing at making me feel better when I got off my bicycle and cuddled up alone under a blanket. It’s like a warm hug from a friend!

•1/2 cup (120 ml) glutinous rice
•2 tablespoons forbidden rice
•2 tablespoons barley (or brown rice)
•2 tablespoons dry red beans (or mung beans)
•1/8 cup (30 ml) raw cashews (or peanuts, or lotus seeds)
•1/8 cup (30 ml) coarsely chopped raw pecans (or walnuts, or chestnuts)
•6 to 10 dried Chinese jujubes (or dried Longan, rinsed) (I used 2 large dates)
•2 tablespoons raisins
•8 to 10 cups of water
•sugar or honey to taste (optional)
•Chinese five-spice powder to taste (optional)

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Soak dry glutinous rice, forbidden rice, barley, dry red beans, peanuts, and pecans in water overnight.

The next morning, add the water into a big pot, boil the water, and then add all ingredients (minus the sweetener).

Lower heat to a simmer. Leave pot open a crack to let some steam out. Stir regularly.

Cook for an hour or so. Add sweetener and serve.

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recipe by Maggie Zhu at Omnivore’s Cookbook and barely adapted by friedsig

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I added the Chinese five-spice powder because I wanted to keep the sugar low. The original calls for 1/4 c rock sugar, but I probably cut it to between a teaspoon and tablespoon of sugar. It was still a bit bland for my taste, so I would say the Chinese five-spice powder is mandatory if you’re cutting the sugar. However, I left five-spice optional in the recipe in case you are making this for someone who is feeling unwell or picky. I think this would be an amazing soft food for someone recovering from nausea, as it’s filling and a complete protein, with no irritating ingredients. Leave a comment and let me know if this helped cure a hangover or some food poisoning!

The original recipe says it’s a special food for a festival. For me, it’s a perfect breakfast and midnight snack. Naturally sweet (from the black rice and nuts,) and filling enough to keep you full for a while. I even had it as a side with dinner! The next night, I drizzled it with honey and had it for dessert! Flexible and healthy. A great porridge that I will definitely be making again.

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hot and numbing xi’an style spice

September 17, 2018

This is by far my favorite new condiment. I made a batch for numbing Xi-an style oven-fried chicken, and ate the entire container of the spice blend within a week. Since then, I’ve made two or three more batches, because it’s amazing on eggs, in salad dressing, on pork, on popcorn… everywhere!

This is now a blend I keep in the house at all times, along with my salt-free seasoning blend, bokharat / baharat, ras-el-hanout, and a simple curry powder.

The heat comes from the chili. The “numbing” comes from the Sichuan peppercorns. It’s sweet, savory, hot – a really magical flavor when it comes together. It’s impossible to describe the flavor. Just try this:

It couldn’t be easier. Just toast 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed, 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (preferably Thai,) and 1 tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns, seeds removed. When toasty, grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Recipe from kenji at serious eats

I can’t recommend this highly enough! If you like spicy, you’ll love this! Tagged favorite because it’s just that incredible.