Posts Tagged ‘chinese’

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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.

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chinese sesame paste dressing

January 9, 2017

trying to get some vegetables back into my diet… salads last week with marinated mushrooms and balsamic vinaigrette were great, so this week maybe i’ll toss some cucumbers and radishes in this for lunch.

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this recipe is from the book phoenix claws and jade trees by kian lam kho

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2 T chinese toasted sesame paste* + 2 T water
1 t toasted sesame oil
1 t chile oil (optional)
1 t white rice vinegar
1 large clove or 2 small cloves garlic
1/2 t salt
1/2 t sugar

stir together and let sit at least ten minutes before using

* = i don’t have this but omnivore’s cookbook suggested 1 part tahini, 1 part peanut butter, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil as a substitution

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modified from the highly recommended cookbook phoenix claws and jade trees by kian lam kho

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fantastic – fast and easy peanut sauce with a great sesame flavor

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dan dan noodles (dandanmian)

December 10, 2016

i can’t stop eating these noodles because they taste so good.

but, i can’t stop crying.

they’re so, so spicy.

did you ever make something that tasted so good despite it being too spicy, but you were determined to power through it, and you ended up with tears streaming down your face?

this chili oil is great – a nice change of pace from la jiao jiang with sichuan flavors like star anise and cinnamon.

sichuan dishes heavy on the peppercorns are known as “numbing” – and this one is ~definitely~ numbing. as in, my mouth is completely numb and tingly… and i keep going back for more.

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i modified this recipe from woks of life. one of the main and most important parts of dan dan noodles are the pickled chinese mustard greens. it’s not really dan dan noodles without sui mi ya cai. so, maybe i should call this something different, because i didn’t use any. don’t fear if you can’t get them – these noodles are amazing even without them. next time i’ll get some bok choy to get some more vegetables in there, and to help cool the fire. and a larger bottle of antacids.

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MAKE THE CHILI OIL
2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
1 inch-long piece of Chinese cinnamon (gui-pi) [i used whatever cinnamon i have]
2 star anise
1 cup oil
1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes

In a small pot, add the Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon stick, star anise, and oil. Over medium low heat, slowly heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and then turn off the heat. Wait 6-7 minutes, then remove the peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and star anise with a slotted spoon.
Add the crushed red pepper flakes and allow them to steep in the hot oil. It should start smelling fragrant, almost like popcorn. Allow the oil to cool. This makes more chili oil than you’ll need, but you’ll be glad to have it on hand for use in other dishes. Store in a glass jar and keep refrigerated.

MAKE THE MEAT
3 teaspoons oil
8 oz. ground pork
2 teaspoons sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons shaoxing wine (or cooking sherry)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1/3 cup sui mi ya cai [update 4/2018: if you don’t have access to these greens, you can use mustard greens marinated in a bit of apple cider vinegar or pickle brine. it’s great!]

In a wok, heat a teaspoon of oil over medium heat, and brown the ground pork. Cook til partially crispy.

Add the sweet bean sauce, shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, and five spice powder. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Set aside. Heat the other 2 teaspoons of oil in the wok over medium heat, and sautee the pickled greens for a few minutes. Set aside.

MAKE THE SAUCE
2 tablespoons sesame paste (tahini)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
1/2 cup of your prepared chili oil [HEY PLEASE DON’T USE A HALF-CUP UNLESS YOU LIKE THINGS VERY, VERY HOT, MAYBE USE LESS THAN HALF, SERIOUSLY THIS CHILI OIL CAME OUT SO, SO HOT]
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
¼ cup hot cooking water from the noodles

Mix together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like.

PUT IT TOGETHER
cook about a pound of cu mian (Shanghai-style noodle,) fresh soft medium-thickness white noodles from an Asian marketplace, or udon noodles. Don’t forget the cooking water for the sauce! Steam bok choy or whatever other greens you have. Grab your bowl and add sauce to the bottom, then noodles, then greens and pork. Top with scallions, and peanuts that you fried up in some oil.

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modified from the woks of life

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tastes like something magical, just as it sounds – sweet, very hot, lots of textures – just what street food should be! the crispy pork and chili oil are just magical together. definitely a part of my rotation.