Posts Tagged ‘chinese’

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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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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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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.

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crispy vegan kung pao tofu

January 22, 2015

This hit the spot. It tastes like something from an Americanized Chinese restaurant – sweet, crunchy, salty, and satisfying. I definitely recommend this one. If you can get past frying the tofu, the sauce takes three minutes to cook up, and your house will smell great.

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vegetable or peanut oil for frying or baking
1/8 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Kosher salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, pressed with something heavy to release moisture, and ideally patted dry to avoid the oil spitting
1/4 cup water or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sichuan broad bean chili paste (I used miso and chili-garlic paste)
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
3 scallions, whites finely minced, and greens finely sliced, reserved separately
3 cloves minced garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sichuan peppercorns, divided
12 hot Chinese dry chili peppers (I used 6)
2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1/2 cup total) (I left these out and it was still great)
2 ribs celery, split in half lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 long green Chinese hot pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into 3/4-inch squares (I omitted this)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
Cooked white rice, for serving
Procedures

1
Heat oil in a wok to 350°F. (You can also bake the tofu if you prefer! If baking it, move to step 3.) Whisk together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Add water and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint and fall off of the whisk in thin ribbons that instantly disappear as they hit the surface of the batter in the bowl.

2
Add tofu and carefully turn to coat. Working one at a time, lift one piece and allow excess batter to drip off. Carefully lower into hot oil. Repeat with remaining tofu until wok is full. Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and agitate pieces as they cook until evenly pale golden and crisp all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all tofu is fried. Carefully pour oil out of wok.

3
Combine stock, soy sauce, bean paste, vinegar, sugar, and remaining 2 teaspoons corn starch in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine scallion whites, garlic, and ginger in a second small bowl. Set aside. Coarsely grind half of peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

4
Set a fine mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl or saucepan. Return 1/4 cup oil to wok and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining half of peppercorns and chilies and cook, stirring, for 5 seconds. Immediately drain through fine mesh strainer. Pick out chilies and set aside. Discard cooked peppercorns

5
Return infused oil to the wok and heat over high heat until lightly smoking. Add leeks, celery, and long pepper and cook, stirring and tossing, until vegetables are lightly charred and tender-crisp, about 1 1/2 minutes. Clear a space in the center of the wok and add the scallion/ginger/garlic mixture. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peanuts, dried chilies, and drained tofu. Stir sauce mixture and add to wok. Cook, tossing and folding ingredients together until tofu is fully coated. Add scallion greens and ground peppercorns and toss to combine. Serve immediately with white rice.

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adapted from serious eats