Friday, September 19, 2014

Sonoran Enchiladas Chatas(Flat Enchiladas)


San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
Corn Tortillas are just corn, water, sea salt, and lime so one wonders why different brands are so different from each other. Freshness has to be a major factor. I find smelling the package is a good tell. If the aroma smells wonderful, it will taste wonderful. If making any dish where the tortilla figures prominently like enchiladas or tacos, getting a perfect result must start with a perfect tortilla. I bought masa and a metal press with the thought that I would make my own. Fortunately, I discovered a “Mercado” that makes them daily for sale.

Flat enchiladas are very popular in Sonoran Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico where they are also called enchiladas montadasor (mounted) and may be topped with one or more fried egg.  In this recipe, there is A great sauce will make a great enchiladas but it can be made a day, week, or months ahead of time and kept frozen until needed.
no frying, so these enchiladas are quicker and have fewer calories than the conventional rolled variety. Since these are cooked on their own plate, there are no pans to cleanup. This recipe works very well in the microwave but may be cooked in a 450 F oven until bubbly hot. (Use a potholder to grab the plate.)

4 Tablespoons Enchiladas Sauce II, warmed (see below)
3 White corn tortillas
2 tablespoons chopped Vidalia onions, sauted in butter until clear
4 Tablespoons white melting cheese such as Queso Fresco
Garnish
Chopped iceberg lettuce with tomatoes slices, tossed in a vinaigrette
Chopped green onions
Chopped cilantro
Fried eggs if desired.

Assemble enchilada: Place 1 tablespoon of enchilada sauce on a microwave/oven safe plate and top with a tortilla. Spoon over tablespoon of enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheese, sauted onions and add next tortilla, add more sauce and cheese. Top with last tortilla, follow by another tablespoon of enchilada sauce then cheese. Microwave 3 minutes on high. (Alternately, prepare several servings and bake in 450 F oven until cheese well melted. ) Let rest 1 minute, then garnish plate with lettuce, tomatoes, and scallions, chopped cilantro, and optionally, fried eggs.

Garnish plate with lettuce, tomatoes, and scallions, chopped cilantro, and optionally, fried eggs.

Enchiladas Sauce II (Chile Colorado)
To control the amount of heat, use more mild New Mexico powder than other varieties. To make a hotter variety, mix both hot and mild New Mexico chilie powder. This recipe makes for a sweeter result than starting with whole dried peppers and is faster to prepare.
1 Teaspoon Ancho powder
1 Teaspoon Aji Amarillo powder
1 Teaspoon Guajillo powder
1 Teaspoon Mulato powder
1 Teaspoon Morita powder or use Chipotle
2 Tablespoons of mild New Mexico ground chile pow­der
2 Cups homemade rich chicken stock
2 Cloves minced garlic
4 Tablespoons rendered pork fat (Manteca rendered from good pork fat)
3 Tablespoons white all-purpose flour
Pinch Mexican oregano
¼ Cup creamor or more as needed
Salt
Pinch or two of sugar as required - see text


Make a roux by blending the pork fat and flour and cook it on low until it is a pale brown color. Remove from heat. Whisk in chili powders and oregano over very low heat, add chicken stock, and garlic. Simmer for 1 hours adding water or more chicken stock as needed. Taste the sauce for hotness, and if not spicy enough, add more ground HOT chili powder. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Correct salt and add sugar and cream as required. The amount of sugar should NOT be per­ceptible and is used to just take any bitter edge off. Salt will also help moderate the biter undertones. The cream or milk serves to mellow the sauce.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Jasmine Rice of Thailand (Thai Hom Mali)

Jasmine rice is Thailand’s top exported rice. While China, by its sheer size, is the world’s largest producer of rice; Thailand has led the world as the largest rice exporter since the 1960′s, owing much to jasmine rice. With continued Thai government support, stringent quality control, all rice destined for export passes the government stamp of approval. The active involvement of the government in the promotion of Thai rice abroad has placed jasmine rice in the spotlight on the world stage. Among discerning Asians in many countries, jasmine rice is considered the best-tasting rice in the world. Archeological evidence supports that in northeastern Thailand rice cultivation dates back at least 5,400 years The Golden Phoenix2 label consistently markets top-grade jasmine rice from the premium northeast region. Besides where the rice is grown, the fragrance, texture and flavor can differ depending on the age of the rice. Jasmine rice is softest and most fragrant when newly harvested.

The rice is naturally fragrant with an aroma similar to that of “pandan” leaves. When the native jasmine rice was first isolated in 1950 it immediately became the accepted standard of best tasting rice.

In my mind, a fresh bowl of steamed perfectly cooked jasmine rice has the essence of perfection. I may cook a pot and top a rice serving with a spicy chili sauce having garlic and ginger.

This cooking method is the least fastidious, and never burns the bottom of the rice. The problem with cooking rice on the stove top is that, as the rice absorbs all the water in the last throws of cooking, the single source of heat cannot be properly spread away from the bottom of the pan without the water. The bottom becomes too hot, and the rice in contact with the bottom of the pan then burns. The stove top formula was 5 minutes on high, 5 minutes on low, five minutes off which meant you had to be diligent about the timing. This method, however, is non critical. A little extra time will not reduce the rice to mush as long as the water content is on the lien side. This recipe may be scaled as required.
2+ Cups of premium jasmine rice (+ means heaping 2 cups)
3 ½ Cups of water
Bring water to a full boil using an oven safe pot. Add rice without stirring, cover with a tight fitting lid. Heat to a boil. When boiling, place covered pot in preheated 350 F oven for 40 minutes. Remove lid, allowing steam to escape. Wait 5 minutes to serve.

 

Notes:

1.        Pandan Leaf (Screwpine Leaf) The leaf is used in curries of Sri Lanka and in Malaysian, Balinese, and Thai cooking. It is commonly used as a flavoring and coloring in Malaysian and Singaporean
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandanus_amaryllifolius
cooking, especially in Malay dishes. The screw-pine or pandan leaves are tied in a knot and placed in soups or stews that are being cooked. The leaf is also bruised or raked with the tines of a fork to release its aroma, pounded to release its aromatic juice, or even boiled to obtain its flavor. Pandan leaves are used as wrappers in Southeast Asian cooking to provide a distinct flavor to the foods. They are wrapped around chicken, pork, glutinous rice, fish, and desserts before grilling, roasting, barbecuing, or steaming. Pandan leaves also enhance the flavor of seasoned rices, puddings, beverages, and curries.

2.        Chia Meng Group has started exporting rice to Hong Kong since 1955 under the brand name of “Golden Phoenix”


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pad Thai


Pad Thai is THE signature dish of Thai cuisine. There are different pad Thai recipes for every cook in Thailand. This recipe is from the my friends at the Thai Gardens in Milpitas California. This recipe is chili and tamarind rice stick noodles with chicken, shrimp and fried tofu, Thai style.

When my friends of the Thai Gardens first started out, they had a postage sized shop on the corner in a large shopping center. Mom and dad took turns cooking. Rory Babb introduced me to Thai. He had lived in country for four years while serving in the Air Force. He ordered for us in Thai and we always got exceptional friendly service. When he ordered for me he would say “Pad Thai pet pet mac, mac” and the dish would arrive fragrant and incredible spicy. It was hotter, in fact, than anything I had ever eaten but was so delicious I finished every bite. Fifteen minutes later, the heat has dissipated completely. They did not speak English and when they saw me show up alone, they would say “pet pet mac, mac” smile and ask me where Rory was. Achieving the American dream, their success lead to the launch of a full scale restaurant, then two restaurants. By now, I was welcome in the kitchen, where their Americanized son would translate ingredients into English. I find now, when I need to make this for guests, the easiest place to get the ingredients is from the restuarant directly. The one exception is tamarind paste which I always have on hand in 4 inch bricks cakes. Their original recipe used a Thai tamarind drink concentrate.

If this is the first time you make Pad Thai, read the whole recipe first. There is nothing hard about it but there are many steps and quite a significant amount of preparation work.  Start the noodles right away. Put the mung bean sprouts on ice water. This recipe is the work of seven years of work but never the less, you can play with it, joining the ranks of the 14,885,784 Pad Thai chefs.

Garnish (Per Person)
(I prepare all the plates ½ hour ahead, cover with wrap, place in cool spot in kitchen.)

1/2 cup mung bean sprouts per person, soak in ice water, pat dry
1/2 cup finely julienne Napa Cabbage per person
2-4 Slices of cucumber, per person
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped roasted peanuts3 
2 Wedges of lime
1 Orange slice

Serve with Ajad Thai Cucumber Garnish (See recipe)

 

Banh pho1 - Medium Thai Rice Noodles

If using dried “Rice stick noodles” soak noodles in a pot of warm water until are just firm, about 30-40 minutes. To hasten the process, pour in boiling water to raise the temperature to about the temperature of a hot bath (100 F). Taste the noodles periodically and remove to a strainer when they are still al dente, completely limp but not mushy. Use Chantaboon Rice Stick Noodle1, Size: M, 14 ounce pack   (3~4 persons) or the equivalent

 


1/4 cup bean sprouts
Topping 2 green onions, julienned
3-4 ounces of diced Chicken Thigh meat per person (some chopped fine, some course)
6~8 peeled tiger prawns per person
1 clove crushed garlic per person
1/3- 1/2 cup firm tofu diced (cut in 1/8 by 1/8 thick pieces) 
1 tablespoons rice wine or Marin4
1 dash of fish sauce (1/2 teaspoon)
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Paprika
1 level tablespoons MSG
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons liquid Thai tamarind fruit concentrate (see Tamarind Sauce)
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste. (Use 1 teaspoon to start. I use 2 tablespoons in mine.)
Chopped cilantro
1 tablespoons of sugar (some places use orange honey)
Peanut Oil 
Salt - as required

Advanced Preparation:
Take a large brick of extra firm fried tofu. Cut away exterior surfaces and discard. Cut it into 1/8 layers and cut into stripes 1/4 wide and cross cut 1/4 inch long. Preheat frying pan with three tablespoons of peanut or canola oil. Bring oil to high heat, fry tofu until firm and it has taken on some color. (7-12 minutes) Set to drain on paper towels. Prepare medium wide (1/16th~3/32nds inch) rice noodles - May be done hours ahead and refrigerated. (The noodles will take on the flavor of whatever they are cook with the hence rice noodle is superior for this purpose). There are so many ingredients, it may be a good idea to load up cups or small dishes with the: sugar, garlic, rice wine, tamarind sauce, red pepper, salt, fish sauce, paprika, MSG. (Take inventory against the recipe.) I have found that I inadvertently have left one or more ingredients out until I started doing this in a more methodical way.

In a very very hot wok, add peanut oil, and when it smokes, quickly cook the chicken. Repeat the process until all meat is cooked. Set aside. This step may be done ahead

Individual Preparation of Each Plate

Individually prepare each portion. In a very very hot wok, add peanut oil, and when it smokes, quickly cook the shrimp, garlic, and add in the chicken. Then add paprika, msg, tamarind sauce, crushed red pepper, sugar or some honey for sweetness. Add fried tofu. Add garlic, rice wine and a few handfuls of noodles. Add in green onions and bean sprouts. Quickly heat. Add chopped cilantro toss and turn out on a plate, top noodles with a pile of chopped peanuts, accompanied noodles with bean sprouts, very fine julienned Napa cabbage, and sliced cucumbers garnish. Serve with lime wedges and a few slices of orange.

The bright red coloring of this dish derives from the ample amount of paprika. The choice of this sweet paprika is one without a lot of flavor of its own less it over power the plate due to the quantity in which it is used.


Notes:

1.        Tamarind Sauce- is a critical ingredient in many Thai foods, and will be found in many steak sauces including mine. If using a package of tamarind paste, combine with hot orange juice and blend with a spoon. Sieve the sauce to remove any hard or stringy bits.  When fully ripe, the shells are brittle and easily broken. The pulp dehydrates to a sticky paste enclosed by a few coarse stands of fiber. The pods may contain from 1 to 12 large, flat, glossy brown seeds embedded in the brown edible pulp. If using fresh pods, shell pods like a peanut, pull off fiber stems along fruited seed pods and place in orange juice over a slow simmer to soften. When softened, cool, then rub paste off seeds, Discard seeds. Sieve and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can scrape seeds with fingernail to remove raisin colored paste. Combine with orange juice, If making a large batch, and storing is desired, use lime juice and orange juice. Sieve the sauce to remove and hard parts. Store the sauce in refrigerator until ready to use.


Tamarind: The 3 - 8 inch long, brown, irregularly curved pods are  abundant along the new branches. As the pods mature, they thicken and the pulp turns a reddish-brown. The pulp dehydrates to a sticky paste threaded by a few coarse stands of fiber. The pods contains numerous glossy brown seeds embedded in the brown edible pulp that remain viable for months and will germinate in a week after planting. The pulp has a pleasing sweet/sour flavor and is high in both acid and sugar. It is also rich in vitamin B and high in calcium. There are wide differences in fruit size and flavor in varietal trees. Indian types have longer pods with 6 - 12 seeds, while the West Indian types have shorter pods containing only 3 - 6 seeds. Most tamarinds in the Americas are of the shorter type. The premium tamarind is graded “AA” and sold in a box as the pods’ brittle casings are easily broken.

Origin and Distribution


Native to tropical Africa, the tree grows wild throughout the Sudan and was so long ago introduced into and adopted in India that it has often been reported as indigenous there also, and it was apparently from this Asiatic country that it reached the Persians and the Arabs who called it "tamar hindi" (Indian date, from the date-like appearance of the dried pulp), giving rise to both its common and generic names. Unfortunately, the specific name, "indica", also perpetuates the illusion of Indian origin. The fruit was well known to the ancient Egyptians and to the Greeks in the 4th Century B.C.

The tree has long been naturalized in the East Indies and the islands of the Pacific. One of the first tamarind trees in Hawaii was planted in 1797. The tamarind was certainly introduced into tropical America, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the West Indies much earlier. In all tropical and near-tropical areas, including South Florida, it is grown as a shade and fruit tree, along roadsides and in dooryards and parks. Mexico has over 10,000 acres of tamarinds, mostly in the states of Chiapas, Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Oaxaca and Veracruz.  In the lower Motagua Valley of Guatemala, there are so many large tamarind trees in one area that it is called "El Tamarindal". There are commercial plantings in Belize and other Central American countries and in northern Brazil. In India there are extensive tamarind orchards. The pulp is marketed in northern Malaya and to some extent wherever the tree is found even if there are no plantations. The Thai make the fruit into a beverage concentrate.

Notes:
  1. Import foods, on line, shows a picture of  the Bahn Pho package in case you get lost in the sea of noodles your oriental market shelves. See http://importfood.com/nogl4001.html
  2. Fish sauce is the single, most important flavoring ingredient in Thai cooking and is available in premium and standard editions - see http://importfood.com/gourmet_fish_sauce.html for premium varieties. The common brand for this is the Tiparos brand. All of these contain a bit of sugar and salt and are made from anchovies.
  3. Unless you chopped the roasted peanut by hand with a knife, you may get them too fine. I use both 1/3rd salted and 2/3rds unsalted peanuts, place them in a plastic zip lock bag and roll over them slowly with a wooden rolling pin. I then sieve the results. The fine powder falls through the sieve and is discarded.
  4. Marin is Japanese sweet cooking wine. Since it is effective in masking the smell of fish, mirin is often used for cooking seafood. The highest quality mirin, referred to as 'Ajino-haha' in Japan is made from rice. Well-known Japanese brands for mirin are Takara and Mitsukan, and the Aji-Mirin is also marketed by Kikkoman and is found on most supermarket shelves.

Ajad Thai Cucumber Garnish


Ajad Thai cucumber garnish is often served with Pad Thai and each guest should have their own serving.


1/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
Salt to taste
1 peeled English cucumber, raked lengthwise with a fork, cored, then sliced thinly
4 shallots or red onion sliced
3-4 Thai Green and Red chili peppers, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce


Combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to taste. The water should be sweet and a little sour and just salty enough to balance the sweet sour. Soak cucumber and onions in a small bowl and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, in a small soy-sauce bowl, add fish sauce and a little water. Add sliced Thai Green and Red chili peppers per person. Place bowl on a slightly larger plate garnished with sweet and sour onions and cucumber slices drained.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Favorite Chilies


 See this link for sauce that uses assorted chilies.

Ancho peppers (1000 - 2000 Scoville)

Ancho peppers are the dried version of Poblano. Their flavor is somewhat sweet and somewhat raisin-like, with medium heat.

Mulato (2500 - 3000 Scoville)

Poblano peppers left to ripen to a rich brown color before being dried produce the Mulato. Mulato have complex notes of coffee, chocolate, and licorice with undertones of cherry and tobacco.

Guajillo Chile (2,500 and 4,000 Scoville)

In Mexico, this chile is almost as popular as the Ancho as far a use. It has a tangy, pleasantly sharp taste with hints of berry and pine.


Puya Chile (Scoville 5,000 to 8,000)

The Puya chile is a type of chile, which resembles the Guajillo chile, but it is found in a smaller and it has a more intense and hotter taste, with a fruity flavor. The Puya chile is used for pizza toppings, pasta fillings, with various meat dishes, especially pork or lamb. The name 'Puya' was derived from the Mapuche Indian (Chile) word meaning "point".

Chipotle Chile (2,500 - 8,000 Scoville)

Chipotle chilies originated in Mexico as a way to preserve jalapeno peppers. These flavorful chilies are slowly smoked over a natural wood fire until they are infused with an incredible smoky flavor and are completely dried. The come in two varieties: the first is made from green immature chilies and the second from red ripe (Morita) which are the hotter.

Arbor Peppers (Scoville 15,000 and 30,000)

The Chile de árbol (Spanish for tree chili) is a small and potent Mexican chili pepper also known as bird's beak chile and rat's tail chile. This pepper is on par with Cayenne pepper. 
 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blog Index

Category Title
American>Favorite Chilies
American Corn and Leek Chowder
American Six Scoops Peach Ice Cream
American Best BBQ Brisket I Have Ever Had
American Barbeque Chicken Leg Quarters, revised
American The Neck Bone Fricassee (Stew)
American Homemade Chicken Stock
American Bright Yellow Garlic and Peppered Rice
American Great Beans
American Chicken Tomato Vegetable Soup
American New York Meatballs
American Celeriac, Leek, and Potato Soup
American Kae’s Greek Celery Hearts
American Rutabaga Casserole, Kae’s
American Steve’s Turkey Giblet Madeira Gravy
American Festive Creamed Onions
American Whipped (Mashed) Potatoes
American Sweet Potato Fries with Pearl Street Plank Rub
American Pearl Street Plank Rubbed Salmon
American Avocado and Pear Salad with Pear Infused Vinaigrette
American Sourdough Apple Currant Sage Dressing
American Two Salads with a Tangerine Balsamic Vinaigrette
American Greens with a Blush Raspberry Vinaigrette
American Tea for Me
American Vicki’s Potato Salad
American>Favorite Chilies
American Arabica Coffee – Where is the “Good Stuff?”
American Cold Days Welcome a Hearty Braised Pot Roast
American Kay’s Perfection Roast Chicken and Potatoes
American Rock Cornish Game Hens
American Macaroni and Cheese
American Wente’s Corn Madeleines
American Simplest Potato Salad
American The Old Bath House Restaurant Basic Souffle
American Cream of Tomato Soup to the Rescue
Appetizers Waking the Palate - Appetizers Pave the Way
Baking Comparing Bread Flour for Artisanal Baking or Pizza
Baking Flour for Bread Baking
Baking Poor bread is forgotten, bread from a great baker endures
Breakfast Spiced Omelets
Caribbean Jerked Chicken, Grilled
Caribbean Jerked Shrimp on Rice or Catalan potatoes
Chinese Szechuan Ma Po Doufu
Chinese Chinese Oxtail Stew
Chinese Advantages of Wok Cooking
Chinese Notes on Chinese Hot Sauce
Chinese Dim Sum Potstickers and Chili Garlic Black Bean Hot Sauce
Chinese Chinese New Year Whole Steamed Fish
Chinese Chinese Style Sausage Lap Cheong
Chinese Gong Bao Ji Ding (Kung Pao Chicken)
Chinese Rounding Out your Chinese Menu with Store Bought
Chinese Cantonese Pork, Char Siu
Chinese Wor Wonton Soup - A Chinese Treasure
Chinese Sichuan (Schezuan) Pepper aka Prickly Ash
Dessert White Zinfandel Poached Peaches with Minted Whipped Cream
Dessert Pineapple Empanadas
Dessert Peaches in a Crust (Single Servings)
Dessert Spiced Bananas Flambé
Dessert Orange Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
Dessert Fig Bistro's Bread Pudding
Dessert Seasonal Fruit and Berry Quick Desserts
Dessert Spiced Bananas Flambé
Dessert Kae's Baked Pears
Dessert Kae's Melting Moments - Cookies
Dessert Maude's Old Fashion Chocolate Fudge
French Vichyssoise or Leek and Potato Soup
French Crème Brule
French Chèvre is French for Goat (revised)
In the Kitchen Shopping Around
In the Kitchen Combining Ingredients Cooked to Perfection
In the Kitchen Favorite Quotes
In the Kitchen Enhancing Savory and Flavor
In the Kitchen What about Canola Oil?
In the Kitchen Practical Knives
In the Kitchen Reviewing Restaurants Online
In the Kitchen What if I can not find leeks?
In the Kitchen The Roasting Pan
In the Kitchen Jack's - a restaurant that has come and gone
In the Kitchen Chef's Resources
In the Kitchen Browning Food Enhances Food Flavors
In the Kitchen Fine Dining Like Royalty
In the Kitchen The Good Life
In the Kitchen Cooking from Scratch
In the Kitchen Death to the 30-Minute Meal
In the Kitchen Residual Heat in Roasting - Getting Good Results
In the Kitchen Blowing Eggs and more
In the Kitchen Generations Of Passionate Home Cooking Work in Progress
Italian; Roman Soppressata Panini - Roman Sandwich
Italian; Roman Clams and Mussels in Garlic Wine Sauce
Italian; Roman Elena’s Tomato Sauce with Salt Pork
Italian; Roman The Small Fish Fry
Italian; Roman Roast Leg of Lamb Sandwich
Italian; Roman Bruschetta di Pomodori Basilica (Tomato and Basil)
Italian; Roman Baked Tomatoes or Onions
Italian; Roman Chicken Hunter Style - Pollo alla Cacciatora
Italian; Roman Abruzzese Bucatini alla Amatriciana
Italian; Roman Vegetables the Roman Way
Italian; Roman Catalogna Puntarelle Chicory Salad
Italian; Roman Pesto Crescent Rolls or Breadsticks
Italian; Roman Most Memorable Breakfast
Italian; Roman San Marzano Tomatoes
Italian; Roman Elena’s Tomato Sauce with Salt Pork
Italian; Roman Tagliatelle with a Lamb Ragu Steeped in Red Wine
Italian; Roman Baking Biscotti (Italian for Biscuit)
Italian; Roman Lori’s Stuffed Italian Tomatoes - Pomodori Repieni al Forno
Italian; Roman Pizza Dough and Baking Pizza on your Grill
Japanese Teriyaki Meat or Chicken
Japanese Japanese Soba Noodle Soup
Japanese Miso is Good Food
Mexican Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) Good Mexican Food
Mexican Pozole Rojo
Mexican Chile Colorado Sauce
Mexican Guacamole Avocado Dip
Mexican Bocaditos and Empanadas
Mexican Pork Fajitas
Mexican Flat Enchiladas Enchiladas Chatas in 3 minutes
Mexican La Milpa Enchiladas Sauce (Chile Colorado)
Russian Stroganoff
South American Warm Pepper-Jack Meatloaf Bolillos Roll
South American Sancocho de Siete Carnes - hola amigos!
Spanish Spanish Chicken with Olives and Wine
Spanish Catalan Potatoes
Spices Bola Chile (Cascabel)
Spices Preserving Ginger - No cook method
Spices Bay Leaves
Spices Spice and Everything Nice
Thai Tom Yum Goong or Thai Shrimp Soup
Thai Toasted Thai Chile Sauce – “Nam prik pao”
Thai The Jasmine Rice of Thailand (Thai Hom Mali)
ThaiPad Thai
ThaiAjad Thai Cucumber Garnish

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Szechuan Ma Po Doufu



Mapo doufu1 is a famous dish from China's Sichuan province served over rice. It is a combination of soft silken bean curd (doufu) in a spicy chili-garlic sauce, douchi (fermented black beans) and minced meat (pork
or beef). Variations exist with other ingredients such as water chestnuts, onions, mushrooms, chives, and or wood ear fungus. In American Chinese cuisine, this dish is often made without meat to appeal to vegetarians, and the amount of pepper toned down.

2 Tablespoons peanut oil
1 Tablespoon dried red pepper
1 Tablespoon Sichuan pepper
2 Tablespoons minced ginger
3 Tablespoons chopped shallots
2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon black soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
4 Cloves minced garlic
½ Cup ground beef or pork
2 tablespoons fermented black bean chili sauce
1 cups homemade rich chicken broth3
1 package silken tofu, cut in ¾ inch cubes then drained on paper towels
1 tablespoon cornstarch + cold water to make a slurry
3 large scallions, sliced diagonally

Optionally
1 Teaspoon or more sugar (to taste)
1 Tablespoon Marin
2 Teaspoon fish sauce

Drain tofu for 20 minutes or more. Pre mix thickener of cornstarch and cold water and reserve until needed.

Heat a wok over high heat. When wok is smoking, add oil.

Stir fry red pepper, garlic, ginger, black bean chili sauce, shallots, until fragrant then add ground meat. Stir fry meat, breaking it up with your chun, until just done. Add soy sauces, Shaoxing wine, chicken broth then reduce liquid by cooking on high. Add cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce. When thick, correct the seasoning. Use Marin or sugar to add some sweetness. Gently slide in tofu off a plate, fold carefully to avoid breaking the pieces. Add Sichuan pepper and scallions.

Serve over steamed aromatic white jasmine2 rice. Garnish with chives or cilantro if desired.


Notes:
  1. Ma Po Doufu means "pock-marked grandmother" named after Wen Qiaoqiao who served this in her restaurant.
  2. Also known as Thai fragrant rice.
  3. For rich chicken stock, see article on Corn and Leak Chowder