• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Doodad

Ma Po done right

35 posts in this topic

Also, is "chili bean sauce" the same thing as "soy chilli sauce"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finding good huajiao (Sichuan peppercorn) is hard -- even here, where we have a wealth of Chinese markets catering to a mostly Asian clientele (and even in China, for that matter). I have heard that some of the Asian supermarket brands are dyed pink - if the pink color leaches out in water after about 15 minutes, this may be the case. A friend recommended trying the Chinese herb store vs. a supermarket. The numbing taste of the finished dish should be pretty intense -- the version of this dish without pork is called mala doufu (i.e., numbing-spicy tofu), and I heard someone say once that the dish should be numbing, spicy, salty, and sweet in that order. If the pins and needles sensation isn't taking over your mouth for a good 10-20 seconds or more after each bite, add more huajiao.

For the chili / broad bean paste, what you want is dòubànjiàng (豆瓣酱), and I would actually go to the trouble of finding a Sichuan style one, preferably made in Sichuan (though I've tried some made in Taiwan ones as well, and this is a good route to go if you want to avoid products produced in Mainland China). I would avoid Lee Kum Kee if possible, despite it being widely available. They will vary in ingredients and spiciness level. The fermented black beans (douchi) are something different. Most authentic recipes I've seen don't seem to add them.

http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/sichuan-chilli-bean-paste/

has a summary of what to look for, and mentions a few specific brands.

Also, is "chili bean sauce" the same thing as "soy chilli sauce"?

English names can vary quite a bit... the English name of the sauce is less important than what it actually is. If you post a closer-up view of the label, with the Chinese name and / or ingredients, that would be more helpful.


Edited by Will (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

English names can vary quite a bit... the English name of the sauce is less important than what it actually is. If you post a closer-up view of the label, with the Chinese name and / or ingredients, that would be more helpful.

xR5zGs.jpg

Ingredients: red pepper, red pepper powder, soy sauce, fermented black beans, soy oil, sugar, garlic, flavor enhancer (E621)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So i happen to be in lhasa tibet right now and there is a decent sized food market with spices and lots of huajiao. I picked up a couple cups of the peppers because i want to work on sichuan cooking when i return. This thread makes me think i should pick up even more. Hw long does this dried pepper keep and how much is typical to use? One stall had two different varieties that seemed to smell the same. Oe was slightly more pink. Any major difference there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So i happen to be in lhasa tibet right now and there is a decent sized food market with spices and lots of huajiao. I picked up a couple cups of the peppers because i want to work on sichuan cooking when i return. This thread makes me think i should pick up even more. Hw long does this dried pepper keep and how much is typical to use? One stall had two different varieties that seemed to smell the same. Oe was slightly more pink. Any major difference there?

Whole, they last for about a year or two. Toasted and then ground, 3 - 6 months.


PS: I am a guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

there is a brand of huajiao preserved in oil that is imported in to the US. Lasts forever and is the most potent.

If you have a Japanese super market near you you can probably find the premade Japanese version of mapo dofu in retort packs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something that really makes Ma Po more restaurant-like is to use restaurant quantities of oil. I often use less at home, but using more oil definitely improves the dish. I have a round-bottomed wok and I'd say when I make it with less oil, the puddle of oil at the center of the wok has a diameter of about 2.5 inches, whereas the higher amount would have about double that. You can also use a mix of regular oil and chile oil, and add some huajiao oil at the end if super fresh huajiao is not available to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Whole, they last for about a year or two. Toasted and then ground, 3 - 6 months.

Or, (toast &) grind, wet through with vinegar, fry in ample oil till all water driven off, and have your very own 'keeps forever' paste.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cookingwithdogs Mabo is good


Wawa Sizzli FTW!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think properly, the white and green parts of garlic shoots (green garlic) are used in mapo doufu, rather than leek or green onion. Baby leeks could be used, but they are tougher, so they don't have quite the same texture, even when cooked a bit longer.

You can see a picture on the right side here at this link, as well as some interesting information in the comments.

http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/the-joys-of-garlic/

Salient points:

1) While the Sichuanese call these 'suànmiáo' (蒜苗), many other areas refer to them as qīng suàn (青蒜). When I've found them at a local market, the Chinese says 蒜苗 (which they also seem to use for garlic scapes, aka suàn tái (蒜薹), but the English description says 'Taiwan Leek'.

2) If it's possible to find them, it will probably be somewhat seasonal -- I would say the things you want are actually harder to find in the US than garlic scapes. I'm not sure if it's a different species of garlic (there are certainly many), or just different stages in the life cycle.

If your garlic hasn't been treated to prevent / slow down sprouting, you can sprout it (especially garlic that's already starting to sprout) at home in some water, but they'll probably be much smaller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      I was recently asked by a friend to give a talk to a group of around 30 first-year students in a local college - all girls. The students were allowed to present me with a range of topics to choose from. To my joy, No. 1 was food! They wanted to know what is different between western and Chinese food. Big topic!
       
      Anyway I did my best to explain, illustrate etc. I even gave each student a home made Scotch egg! Which amused them immensely.

      Later, my friend asked each of them to write out (in English) a recipe for their favourite Chinese dish. She has passed these on to me with permission to use them as I wish. I will post a few of the better / more interesting ones over the next few days.

      I have not edited their language, so please be tolerant and remember that for many of these students, English is their third or fourth language. Chinese isn't even their first!

      I have obscured some personal details.

      First up:

      Tomato, egg noodles.

      Time: 10 minutes
       
      Yield: 1 serving

      For the noodle:

      1 tomato
      2 egg
      5 spring onions

      For the sauce:
       
      1 teaspoon sesame oil
      1 tablespoon sugar
      ½ teaspoon salt

      Method:

      1. The pot boil water. At that same time you can do something else.

      2. Diced tomato. Egg into the bowl. add salt and sugar mixed. Onion cut section.

      3. Boiled noodles with water and cook for about 5 minutes.

      4. Heat wok put oil, add eggs, stir fry until cooked. Another pot, garlic stir fry the tomato.

      5. add some water to boil, add salt, soy sauce, add egg
       
      6. The tomato and egg sauce over noodle, spring onion sprinkled even better.
       


      More soon.
    • By zend
      I just bought these greens from the neighborhood Asian grocery. Had them once in China as a salad, and they tasted exceptional - a bit peppery like arugula, yet much more subtle and fresh, with hints of lemon.
      Store lady (non-Chinese) could not name them for me other than "Chinese greens".
      Any help identifying them is greatly appreciated
       

    • By liuzhou
      China's plan to cut meat consumption by 50%
       
      I wish them well, but can't see it happening. Meat eating is very much seen as a status symbol and, although most Chinese still follow a largely vegetable diet out of economic necessity, meat is still highly desirable among the new middle classes. The chances of them willingly giving it up, even by 50%, seems remote to me.
    • By JohnT
      I have been asked to make Chinese Bow Tie desserts for a function. However, I have never made them, but using Mr Google, there are a number of different recipes out there. Does anybody have a decent recipe which is tried and tested? - these are for deep-fried pastry which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
    • By chefmd
      My son married a lovely young lady from Yakeshi, Inner Mongolia, China.   Mongolian: ᠶᠠᠠᠠᠰᠢ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Ягши хот); Chinese: 牙克石; pinyin: Yákèshí
       
      We had a wedding in the US but her family also wanted to have a traditional wedding in China.  DH and I have never being to China so this was an exciting opportunity for us!  We spent a few days in Beijing doing touristy stuff and then flew to Hailar.  There is only one flight a day on Air China that we took at 6 in the morning.  Yakeshi is about an hour drive from Hailar on a beautiful toll road with no cars on it.  I wish we took pictures of free roaming sheep and cows along the way.  The original free range meat.
       
      The family met us at the airport.  We were greeted with a shot of a traditional Chinese spirit from a traditional leather vessel.  Nothing says welcome like a stiff drink at 9 AM.  We were supposed to have a three shots (may be they were joking) but family took pity on us and limited it to one only.
       

       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.