Tag: Sichuan

Foodstuff: Ma-Po Tofu Sauce Mix

Ma-Po Tofu Sauce Mix 1

I picked this little item up on a whim while shopping for other stuff. I don’t use pre-packaged sauce mixes all that frequently, nor do I use tofu often, but I have been curious about the classic Sichuan dish,  Mapo Doufu (spelled ‘Mabo Tofu’ here), and I thought this might be an interesting way to experience it for the first time. The package states that you need to add nothing except ground meat and tofu, and so I used nothing else myself except for just a little scallion… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Ma-Po Tofu Sauce Mix”

Foodstuff: Chuan Pi Broad Bean Sauce

Chuan Pi Broad Bean Sauce 1

I try many different Sichuan Broad Bean Pastes with Chili, which typically are identified, in genuinely Chinese products, by the characters 辣豆瓣酱 … this product, however, is somewhat different than those I usually counter. I don’t plan on buying it again, but I thought I would share my experience … Continue reading “Foodstuff: Chuan Pi Broad Bean Sauce”

Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans

Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans 1

When I was a kid, I heartily disliked green-beans and I never really changed my opinion much over the years. I liked them raw, actually, as they taste quite a bit like snap-peas in that state, but, once cooked, especially by boiling, the nice sweetness of the raw product disappeared. Fresh ones were the best, if I had to eat them, but the frozen sort were rarely very good and the canned (which were all we ever got in school dinners) were nothing less than disgusting.

Once I discovered the Sichuan method  of dry-frying beans, however, I found a way where I could genuinely enjoy this vegetable. In this cookery style, the beans are first quickly fried (nowadays mostly by briefly deep-frying) and then they are stir-fried a second time along with various ingredients (commonlya little ground pork, or dried shrimp) and the sort of seasoning such as chili paste, scallion and garlic, that you often find in Sichuan dishes. The taste of the fresh, raw article is preserved and the texture is terrific… Continue reading “Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans”

Three Flavoured Zucchini

Three Flavored Zucchini 1

Today’s offering  is inspired by a Sichuan dish that features flash-fried green beans combined with ground pork, plus chilli and other typical Sichuan seasonings. The dish you see above departs from the basic theme by using zucchini, and the ‘three flavoured’ appellation stems from the fact that three different taste components are represented. The dish is spicy hot with homemade Simple Chilli Oil, salty, from Preserved Radish, and rich in the umami flavour of Chinese Dried Shrimp. Anyway, I have to apologize that I managed to lose my notes made whilst making this preparation but I think I can describe the basic idea as follows:

Reconstitute and then finely chop dried shrimp reserving the soaking water. Chop a similar amount of Preserved Radish finely.  Fast fry batons of zucchini at very high temperature to sear the surface but leaving the flesh still crisp tender. Fry a little ground pork, separating the meat into ‘crumbs’ then add some minced ginger, white pepper, and garlic salt, followed by the radish, chopped shrimp and the soaking water. Add a little rice wine and cook until the liquid is almost gone. Add the zucchini and sauté until heated through then stir in some chilli oil (including the solid chilli flakes) and serve hot

I think you should be able to get the basic idea from the above. In any event, the result was really delicious…

Tiger Peppers (hu pi jian jiao – 虎皮尖椒)

Tiger Peppers 1

It has been years since I last made Tiger Skin Peppers (as many as twenty, maybe). For a long while now, I have wanted to prepare the dish for my blog but I waited in vain for the right sort of peppers to turn up in local stores and it wasn’t until this past week that some finally appeared. I grabbed a good quantity of them and will devote a small portion to this present offering.

The origin of this dish is, I believe, Sichuan, but it is very popular elsewhere. It is so named because the characteristic patterns formed on the chillies when seared at very high heat in a wok or other pan gives it a ‘tiger skin’ like appearance. Personally, I actually think that ‘Leopard Skin’ might be closer but I won’t quibble.

Anyway, once seared, the chillies are finished with a simple sauce composed of Chinese Black Vinegar, soy sauce, and, usually a little sugar. I am rounding that out with a little chopped garlic here (which is sometimes, though not always, used) but, in any event, the result makes for a very nice appetizer or side-dish… Continue reading “Tiger Peppers (hu pi jian jiao – 虎皮尖椒)”

Chicken with Preserved Vegetable

Chicken and Preserved Vegetable 1

This recipe is built around the Sichuan Preserved Vegetable I featured in a foodstuff post recently. I am going to be cooking it with diced chicken breast and cashews in a hot, sweet, and sour sauce using chili, sugar and vinegar. This particular combination is pretty much ‘ad hoc’ for today’s dish but it is very much in the general tradition of Sichuan cookery…  Continue reading “Chicken with Preserved Vegetable”

Foodstuff: Sichuan Preserved Vegetable

Sichuan Preserved Vegetable 1

This particular foodstuff is something I have bought and used in a variety of different forms. The name on the can label, ‘Preserved Vegetable’ is further amplified in the Chinese script as being a Sichuan specialty, and one might be excused for thinking that the contents are any sort of vegetable that has been preserved in the style of Sichuan. In fact, any time you encounter the name ‘Sichuan Preserved Vegetable’, you are almost invariably dealing with a specific plant, sometimes known as a ‘Mustard Tuber’, which is fermented with salt and then quite heavily spiced, chiefly with chili paste or powder… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Sichuan Preserved Vegetable”

Review: Jincheng Restaurant

1569 Dresden Row – (902) 431-8588

Jing Cheng 1

Date of Visit: July 5, 2014

When I was planning my recent trip to Halifax, I did some searching interesting Chinese restaurants on the internet but was unable to come up with anything beyond the highly westernized types I like to call ‘Chop Suey Joints’. It was thus with a measure of pleasant surprise that I came across this tiny little hole-in-the-wall Sichuan place just a few minutes walk from my hotel. The name, which means ‘Cheng Capital’ refers to the city now known as ‘Chengdu’, and as the menu explains, the establishment specializes (very ably and well, as it turned out) in the spicy cuisine of Sichuan’s capital…  Continue reading “Review: Jincheng Restaurant”

Ants Climb A Tree – 蚂蚁上树

Ants Climb Tree 1

This curiously named dish, with origins in Sichuan, is a classic in Chinese cuisine. It is based on the wiry, thin Mung Bean Starch noodles (粉絲), whose transparency yields the common English names of ‘glass noodles’ or ‘cellophane noodles’. Ground meat, generally pork or beef, is cooked in a sauce and then tossed with the noodles so that the ‘grains’ of meat give the appearance (with some poetic license) of ants climbing the branches of a tree. In Sichuan, Chili Bean Paste, and sometimes chopped fresh or dried chili, is incorporated into the sauce, while in Taiwan or other parts of China, a less spicy version results from the use of the milder black or yellow bean sauces. Our version today will be of the traditional spicy, hot variety… Continue reading “Ants Climb A Tree – 蚂蚁上树”