Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ma-Po Tofu (Tofu in Black Bean and Chilli Sauce)



From Celia Brooks Brown's cookbook, World Vegetarian Classics:

Ma-Po Tofu
(Tofu in Black Bean and Chili Sauce)
Serves approximately 4

1 small handful sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 pound firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large green bell pepper, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 large fresh red chili, deseeded and sliced (adjust amount according to heat preference)
2 large garlic cloves, minced or sliced
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the sauce:

2 teaspoons black bean sauce

3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry1 teaspoon sugar

Place the shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl. Pour the cup of boiling water over the mushrooms and let stand for about 5 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the water, and set them aside.
Stir the cornflour into the reserved water and set that aside.

Place all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the mushroom, green pepper, chilli, and garlic to the skillet and cook until the garlic becomes soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sauce mixture.

Next, stir in the reserved water (with cornstarch). Continue cooking until the sauce thickens and becomes bubbly. Add the tofu cubes and stir until they are warmed through.
Serve with rice.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chinese-Style Pickled Cucumbers



This dish is easy to prepare and makes a great side dish for an Asian entree.
Chinese-Style Pickled Cucumbers

5 to 6 Kirby cucumbers
Salt for tossing cucumbers
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar
1 medium-size carrot, thinly sliced (using a vegetable peeler)
Sesame seeds, for garnishing (optional)
Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into quarters and then into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Place the cucumbers in a colander, toss them in some salt, and let stand for about 20-30 minutes.

Thoroughly rinse the cucumbers under cold tap water and pat dry with a towel. Place the cucumbers and carrots in a bowl.

Heat the sesame oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper flakes and cook until they start to deepen in color. Take the skillet off the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and carrots and toss. Add the chili-infused oil to the bowl of cucumbers and carrots and toss. Let stand for about 1 hour, until cooled. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.