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Thai bird chili peppers in mapo tofu


glenn
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Ground cayenne has little nuance.  The ird peppers are just a slemder, quite hot, little pepper. You want the fresh pepper taste - not dried/ground. I'd think Colombia has a selection of similars. 

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As @KennethThas noted, Thai chilis are not traditionally used in Chinese cuisine. In fact, I would strongly caution against doing so.They are far hotter and have a different flavor than the traditionally used varieties in Sichuan. If you subbed them for the Sichuanese varieties in the same quantities, you would have mapo inedible.

 

The traditional chilis used in Sichuan are  朝天椒 (cháo tiān jiāo), 'facing heaven chilis' or the similar 七星椒 (qī xīng jiāo), 'seven star chilis'.

 

655971258_FacingHeavenChillis.thumb.jpg.78d8cb3c5ba176219038caa08bc65b69.jpg

Dried Facing Heaven Chilis - 朝天椒干 (cháo tiān jiāo gān)

 

They are used pickled and dried (whole and ground).

 

豆瓣酱 (dòu bàn jiàng), 'chili bean paste', sometimes transliterated as 'toban-djan' is also used. It is made using 二荆条辣椒 (èr jīng tiáo là jiāo), erjingtiao chilis, another common, distinctive tasting chili in Sichuan.

Mapo Tofu normally only contains the chili bean paste and (only sometimes) ground dried facing heaven chilis.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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I should add that for the true mapo tofu experience you need 辣豆瓣酱 (là dòu bàn jiàng). Variations of doubanjiang are made all over China (and doubtlessly elsewhere), but the one you want for mapo tofu is this one. The (là) means 'hot' as in 'spicy'.

 

Sometimes it may also be labelled 红油 (hóng yóu) which indicates it contains chili oil.

 

The most recommended brand is:

 

Pixian Doubanjiang. Pixian is a city in Sichuan famed for its high quality doubanjiang. It is sold internationally, both in jars and in these plastic pouches.

 

1887697340_pixiandbj.thumb.jpg.992baaa5789b39095fb1ba286362c9d9.jpg

 

Another excellent brand, also from Pixian is Juancheng doubanjiang. I'm not sure how internationally that is sold, but in the USA, Mala Market stock it..

 

1634343177_JuanchengDoubanjiang.thumb.jpg.a8cb11859065829f0ff0cc60b233397b.jpg

Juancheng Dobanjiang

 

Others can be very unspicy, especially the Cantonese variety.

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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8 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I should add that for the true mapo tofu experience you need 辣豆瓣酱 (là dòu bàn jiàng). Variations of doubanjiang are made all over China (and doubtlessly elsewhere), but the one you want for mapo tofu is this one. The (là) means 'hot' as in 'spicy'.

 

Sometimes it may also be labelled 红油 (hóng yóu) which indicates it contains chili oil.

 

The most recommended brand is:

 

Pixian Doubanjiang. Pixian is a city in Sichuan famed for its high quality doubanjiang. It is sold internationally, both in jars and in these plastic pouches.

 

 

 

Another excellent brand, also from Pixian is Juancheng doubanjiang. I'm not sure how internationally that is sold, but in the USA, Mala Market stock it..

 

1634343177_JuanchengDoubanjiang.thumb.jpg.a8cb11859065829f0ff0cc60b233397b.jpg

Juancheng Dobanjiang

 

 

 

 

This is the common one that I see

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Mapo Tofu - The Woks of Life.pdf

Woks of life called for the thai chillies for the Mapo Tofu recipe.

I was looking for a tofu recipe with a little kick. I've only made home-style tofu.  I found it to be rather bland.

 

I found this on Amazon. It seems to be similar to the Pixian Doubanjiang recommended. Do you guys think this would be a good substitute in the woks of life recipe for Mapo Tofu? Or, is there another tofu recipe recommended that is not so bland?

91DA4I4HaAL._SL1500_.thumb.jpg.188b7f61faf991baa9624d2bb08cd845.jpg

 

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That doubanjiang looks like what I can get, and I use it - it's fine.  I like some of the Woks of Life stuff, but others not so much.  I find this a much better version of mapo tofu -

 

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37 minutes ago, KennethT said:

That doubanjiang looks like what I can get, and I use it - it's fine.  I like some of the Woks of Life stuff, but others not so much.  I find this a much better version of mapo tofu -

 

Thanks for posting this. I never tire of watching videos showing technique.

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5 hours ago, glenn said:

 

Woks of life called for the thai chillies for the Mapo Tofu recipe.

 

I was looking for a tofu recipe with a little kick. I've only made home-style tofu.  I found it to be rather bland.

 

I found this on Amazon. It seems to be similar to the Pixian Doubanjiang recommended. Do you guys think this would be a good substitute in the woks of life recipe for Mapo Tofu? Or, is there another tofu recipe recommended that is not so bland?

 

 

I too find the Woks of Life very hit and miss. I have never even seen Thai chillies here in Sichuan. That is a huge miss. For astart Mapo Tofu traditionally uses beef and not pork as they claim. And the chilis are all wrong.

 

The brand of doubanjiang you found is fine. Pixian Doubanjiang has Protected Geographical Index rating in China and they do enforce it strictly.

 

Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe is as good as it gets and very much identical to anything I've eaten in Sichuan. If it is still too bland for you add more of the ground chili.

 

Below, for entertainment  value only, is a photo of the mapo tofu recipe in one of my Chinese language cookbooks entitled, Everyday Family Sichuan Cooking. Not a Thai chili in sight.

 

345692875__20220215045915.thumb.jpg.db5dca0533b6023052df0cff478d8c3c.jpg

 

Don't worry about the colors shown in the  finished dish - the photographs in that book are alll washed out! It's redder than it looks.
 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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48 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe is as good as it gets and very much identical to anything I've eaten in Sichuan. If it is still too bland for you add more of the ground chili.

 

 

Thanks, this is exactly what I'm looking for. Does it make much of a difference if I use corn starch instead of potato starch? I'm guessing corn vs. potato starch has come up before.

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