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Pictorial: Ma Po Tofu

Chinese Vegetarian

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100 replies to this topic

#91 dmreed

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 05:32 AM

I am under the impression that chilis were introduced to China (and Asia?) around 1500 C.E. from South America.

If true, I find it interesting to specify any Asian country as a source of chilis! Although I do concede that various species/varities have been developed and were/are used in specific countries and regions of Asia.

So Thai Bird Chilis, Sichuan Chilis, etc. may definitely be useful designations or names much like Anaheim, Serrano, Jalapeño, Fresno, Ancho, Poblano, etc.

Again, have any of you tried the Ghost Chili from India (over a million Scoville Units)?
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#92 dmreed

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Posted 11 May 2009 - 10:30 PM

3 questions/comments:
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.
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3) I seem to recall seeing a recipe for Mapo Dofu which used a bit of "stinky tofu" in addition to the usual ingredients. Can someone point me to such a recipe?

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2009/05/11

I just found a recipe for mapo tofu which uses fermented bean curd! :rolleyes:

http://avenuefood.co.../mapo-dofu.aspx
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#93 dmreed

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 06:14 PM

3 questions/comments:
.
.
.
3) I seem to recall seeing a recipe for Mapo Dofu which used a bit of "stinky tofu" in addition to the usual ingredients. Can someone point me to such a recipe?

View Post


2009/05/11

I just found a recipe for mapo tofu which uses fermented bean curd! :rolleyes:

http://avenuefood.co.../mapo-dofu.aspx

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I just made the recipe tonight and it was great (I did add a bit more fermented beans, a bell pepper which needed to be used, and some black bean with garlic sauce...for my wife, I only used one dried chili but on my serving I put about 1 1/2 Tbs homemade chili oil. I served it over macaroni (I usually serve it over spaghetti).

I noticed that the recipe is not really "authentic", can anyone provide such a recipe which is "authentic"?
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#94 prasantrin

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:33 PM

I just made the recipe tonight and it was great (I did add a bit more fermented beans, a bell pepper which needed to be used, and some black bean with garlic sauce...for my wife, I only used one dried chili but on my serving I put about 1 1/2 Tbs homemade chili oil. I served it over macaroni (I usually serve it over spaghetti).

I noticed that the recipe is not really "authentic", can anyone provide such a recipe which is "authentic"?

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I think you need to clarify what you mean by "authentic" and in what way you deem the recipe as authentic or not.

Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe is quite authentic, as is hzrt8w's. But if you want to add more oil and chiles to them, that would probably bring their recipes even closer to one you would get in Sichuan.

Although I have to wonder, if you're serving it over pasta, just how "authentic" do you really need it to be?

Edited by prasantrin, 18 May 2009 - 07:33 PM.


#95 dmreed

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 10:06 PM

I just made the recipe tonight and it was great (I did add a bit more fermented beans, a bell pepper which needed to be used, and some black bean with garlic sauce...for my wife, I only used one dried chili but on my serving I put about 1 1/2 Tbs homemade chili oil. I served it over macaroni (I usually serve it over spaghetti).

I noticed that the recipe is not really "authentic", can anyone provide such a recipe which is "authentic"?

View Post


I think you need to clarify what you mean by "authentic" and in what way you deem the recipe as authentic or not.

Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe is quite authentic, as is hzrt8w's. But if you want to add more oil and chiles to them, that would probably bring their recipes even closer to one you would get in Sichuan.

Although I have to wonder, if you're serving it over pasta, just how "authentic" do you really need it to be?

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that is why I put "authentic" in quotes. I would consider the recipes by Dunlop and A. Leung to be authentic (no quotes).

I frequently put more chili, fermented black beans and Szechuan peppercorns in recipes. When I order a Sichuan dish in a restaurant (when they ask how spicy on a scale of 1-10, I ask for spicy 15).

I seem to recall seeing do fu ru in a mapo dofu recipe in a Chinese cookbook written by a Chinese author but I have not been able to locate it. my google search found just one such recipe...the non "authentic" one.

I have suspected for some time that in the north of China mapo dofu might well have been served over noodles before rice was readily available but I have not found any confirmation. but, if it is true, it would be authentic (no quotes)!
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#96 BonVivant

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:57 AM

Thai 'facing heaven' is not the same. fresh sichuan facing heaven peppers look like this. they sure use a lot in a dish, too. the locals don't eat them but i do even if only a few. besides, it's not too common i get to see the fresh stuff.

other chilies worldwide [and so many other spices and foods...] we have the Portuguese to be thankful for.

#97 dmreed

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 08:37 PM

Zhajiang Noodles

I like mapo dofu over noodles...last night because my wife prefers elbow macaroni to spaghetti, I served my mapo dofu over the elbow macaroni and it was great.

I was just looking at a recipe for Zhajiang Noodles and the author suggested that Zhajiang Noodles from Northern China are somewhat like Mapo Dofu over spaghetti/noodles. Anyone here have any opinions?
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#98 dmreed

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:23 AM

3 questions/comments:

1) I don't recall getting an answer as to what Sichuan chili peppers are or what an equivalent pepper available in the USA might be.

2) For those who like "heat", have you tried the Ghost Chili (Bhut Jolokia) from India? Four times hotter than the Habanero pepper (over a million Scoville units!!!). I like HOT but a piece about the size of a common pin head just sitting on my tongue for a about 10-15 seconds required spitting it out! if I can get some to grow I will make some chili oil using the Ghost Chili and Sichuan peppercorns.

3) I seem to recall seeing a recipe for Mapo Dofu which used a bit of "stinky tofu" in addition to the usual ingredients. Can someone point me to such a recipe?


shortly after posting the above, I started adding 2 cubes of fermented bean curd as well as the 2 Tbls. of fermented black beans to my mapo dofu recipe for 4 servings. I also bought 1/2 lb. of Ghost Chilis and now make my chili oil with them. instead of adding 4-6 drops of commercial chili oil to a bowl of soup, I now add 2 drops of my Ghost Chili Oil!
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#99 eternal

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 08:35 AM

Somehow I missed the last page of this thread. I spent the weekend gathering ingredients for cooking out of Land of Plenty and making mapo tofu a couple times. There's a lot of talk of the facing heaven chili, which I tried to find at 4 different places around Seattle without success. I also looked online and couldn't find a supplier. I ended up using a chili a local Asian supermarket calls "Japonese" which looks a lot like a chili de arbol and it worked out pretty well. I'm still going to continue the search for the facing heaven variety though. I put my Chinese in-laws on the case as well.

Luckily, I just snuck in about 3 cups worth of whole Sichuan peppercorns from a trip to China a couple weeks back.

Anyway, the recipe at the beginning of this thread is a nice companion to Dunlop's, which I find is a little too simple. My second attempt came out great though I'd still love to be able to dig into the condiments part. Not being able to make the chili bean paste and the fermented black beans is discouraging. Are there other ways to strengthen this dish? I've been thinking about that a lot over the last few days but I've come up empty. It crossed my mind to use this sauce for something else, like a white fish fillet or whole roasted fish. Other ideas I had were to make my own "sausage" for the dish instead of just using pre-ground pork or beef. Or top with fried leek rings. Maybe next time.

#100 threestars

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 05:16 AM

Oh I want to try this out soon! :) I've eaten some of these when I'm in Hong Kong and I miss it.

#101 Will

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 10:50 AM

I can get dried (and powdered) chaotianjiao (facing heaven) chilis here in LA a lot of the time, at least the bag claims they are. After drying, the shape is not so very different from Tianjin style peppers, but the top is a little bit wider, and the texture a bit different. I think the heat and flavor are both a little bit higher than standard peppers, but they are definitely not hot like Thai bird shit chilis. The ones I get look like this:
483891_image000.jpg

I've been trying to grow fresh ones for a while -- finally just got the first blossom, but probably too cold for any to grow this year.

Sichuan food tends to use dried chilies a lot more often than fresh, and I don't think either dried or fresh are usually used (directly) in mapo doufu - I think the heat usually comes from the doubanjiang and from chili oil being added, or possibly crushed chaotianjiao.

One tip for those looking for good doubanjiang. Most of the Pixian doubanjiang that doesn't have preservatives or MSG comes in little plastic pouches rather than in jars. So try looking with the sauces in pouches rather than jars when you're looking for it.

Edited by Will, 17 November 2011 - 10:52 AM.






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