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hzrt8w

Pictorial: Ma Po Tofu

101 posts in this topic

Seeing as the Japanese are also familiar with this dish, how do they make it differently to the Chinese?

In my experience, it's much less spicy and much more gloopier. I prefer the Chinese version, but once in a great while, I like a bit of the Japanese version, too. They also do mabonasu, using eggplant rather than tofu.

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I just want to say

I am going to make this for tomrrow's dinner so please insert very sincere yet very silly happy dance here!

It always happens ..I am sitting here thinking to myself "hmmmmm...what should I make today? I want something really good! " and this board is like The Magic 8 ball, close my eyes make a wish for some inspiration ....turn it over and there is the answer!

I have not made Ma Pu tofu in ages! This is such suck your thumb twirl your hair good comfort food I think! Certainly rolling through this thread again has me so stoked i want to make it for breakfast and it is not even light out!

thank you! :smile:

eta change of menu!


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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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?


The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

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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.

Sichuan chili peppers aren't chilis at all - they don't produce so much heat in the mouth; rather they numb your tongue a little. I don't particularly care for the sensation myself, but I find it wholly different from the heat generated from chilis. I'm not sure if it's the same plant or not, but Japanese sansho produces the same feeling - you should be able to find little green bottles of the powder in an Asian market.

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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.

Are you referring to this question you asked earlier?

what chili peppers are equivalent to Sichuan chili peppers?

It's a little difficult to answer your questions without a context--what recipe did you see them in? I don't recall seeing them in any mabodofu recipe here (though I have not looked at all of them).

Regardless, perhaps http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-p...ystientsin.html will suit your needs?

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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?

I assume you're talking about the kinds of peppers here, not the peppercorns which produce a numbing sensation in the mouth and are not hot. I think the peppers you're looking for are facing heaven chilis which are native to Sichuan province. As for substitutions, I'm not sure, but I think I've heard that things like dried chiles de arbol or even dried New Mexico chiles would work. I often use a couple of dried thai peppers. In the final product, you can't really tell that much.


nunc est bibendum...

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I think the peppers you're looking for are facing heaven chilis which are native to Sichuan province.

In that wiki, there is this:

Because of its attractive appearance, the dried chili is often added to dishes whole (whereas Sichuan chilies are more likely to be broken up or crushed).

implying that facing heaven chiles are different from Sichuan chiles. Of course, that doesn't mean they can't be used interchangeably, but they're not the same.

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I think the peppers you're looking for are facing heaven chilis which are native to Sichuan province.

In that wiki, there is this:

Because of its attractive appearance, the dried chili is often added to dishes whole (whereas Sichuan chilies are more likely to be broken up or crushed).

implying that facing heaven chiles are different from Sichuan chiles. Of course, that doesn't mean they can't be used interchangeably, but they're not the same.

Since facing heaven chilis are native to Sichuan province and are a chili associated with that region and its cookery, I think I'd say it's a "sichuan chili." Those other chilis you linked to through Penzey's look like a kind of Sichuan chili too, but I've never heard of them. They're probably much easier to find too.

Facing heaven chilis are what I've seen referenced the most though when it comes to Sichuan chilis--perhaps because they cut such a nice figure. I think that the writer of that wikipedia article just meant that other chilis are usually ground up in Sichuan cooking whereas these are usually not, not that they are not Sichuan chilis.


nunc est bibendum...

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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.

Sichuan chili peppers aren't chilis at all - they don't produce so much heat in the mouth; rather they numb your tongue a little. I don't particularly care for the sensation myself, but I find it wholly different from the heat generated from chilis. I'm not sure if it's the same plant or not, but Japanese sansho produces the same feeling - you should be able to find little green bottles of the powder in an Asian market.

I am asking about Sichuan Chili peppers not Sichuan peppercorns which I use quite frequently! the peppers might be the chilis called Tien Tsin peppers. See the recipe at http://www.thespicehouse.com/recipes/spicy...n-shrimp-recipe where both are used.

Thai/Heaven Facing Chili apparently is not the same as the Sichuan chili. I just found a reference to the Tien Tsin chili which says the Fresno chili is a decent replacement.

I am still looking for an answer to question 3) and I am curious about question 2).


Edited by dmreed (log)

The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

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Thai/Heaven Facing Chili apparently is not the same as the Sichuan chili. I just found a reference to the Tien Tsin chili which says the Fresno chili is a decent replacement.

I am still looking for an answer to question 3) and I am curious about question 2).

Facing Heaven Chilis are not Thai chilis and they're from the Sichuan region. The Tien Tsin chilis are what prsantrin linked to though, so they'd probably satisfy.

That Ghost chili oil sounds dangerous--I imagine you'd only need a little bit. Regular chili oil is plenty hot for me. I think the goal for ma po tofu is a good balance of pretty intense heat and numbness from the peppercorns.

As for using stinky tofu, I've never seen it, but I'm no authority anyway. I like regular ma po tofu so much though, that I don't think I'd want to mess with success.


nunc est bibendum...

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Thai/Heaven Facing Chili apparently is not the same as the Sichuan chili. I just found a reference to the Tien Tsin chili which says the Fresno chili is a decent replacement.

I am still looking for an answer to question 3) and I am curious about question 2).

Facing Heaven Chilis are not Thai chilis and they're from the Sichuan region. The Tien Tsin chilis are what prsantrin linked to though, so they'd probably satisfy.

That Ghost chili oil sounds dangerous--I imagine you'd only need a little bit. Regular chili oil is plenty hot for me. I think the goal for ma po tofu is a good balance of pretty intense heat and numbness from the peppercorns.

As for using stinky tofu, I've never seen it, but I'm no authority anyway. I like regular ma po tofu so much though, that I don't think I'd want to mess with success.

hummm...I grow what were labelled Thai chilis and they definitely grow "heaven facing"!! but perhaps they are not what are generally known as Thai chilis??? I will buy some Thai chilis or seeds to see how they taste and compare to the heaven facing chilis I now am growing.

regarding stinky tofu in mapo dofu, I am only talking about using just a small amount for added depth of flavor...but I am not sure how much to use...maybe I should just add a tiny bit and see how it tastes, then add a bit more and check that, etc., etc.


The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

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Thai/Heaven Facing Chili apparently is not the same as the Sichuan chili. I just found a reference to the Tien Tsin chili which says the Fresno chili is a decent replacement.

I am still looking for an answer to question 3) and I am curious about question 2).

Facing Heaven Chilis are not Thai chilis and they're from the Sichuan region. The Tien Tsin chilis are what prsantrin linked to though, so they'd probably satisfy.

That Ghost chili oil sounds dangerous--I imagine you'd only need a little bit. Regular chili oil is plenty hot for me. I think the goal for ma po tofu is a good balance of pretty intense heat and numbness from the peppercorns.

As for using stinky tofu, I've never seen it, but I'm no authority anyway. I like regular ma po tofu so much though, that I don't think I'd want to mess with success.

hummm...I grow what were labelled Thai chilis and they definitely grow "heaven facing"!! but perhaps they are not what are generally known as Thai chilis??? I will buy some Thai chilis or seeds to see how they taste and compare to the heaven facing chilis I now am growing.

regarding stinky tofu in mapo dofu, I am only talking about using just a small amount for added depth of flavor...but I am not sure how much to use...maybe I should just add a tiny bit and see how it tastes, then add a bit more and check that, etc., etc.

Interesting. If you google "facing heaven chilis," every reference to them that I've seen is to their origin in Sichuan and their use in the food there. It may be that you're chilis were imported as Thai chilis, but if they're the real deal, then they're the ones for Sichuan cooking.

As for the stinky tofu, why not just try it and see what happens. If it's not a good combo, it won't be that bad if you only use a little.


nunc est bibendum...

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Thailand has similar chiles. They may in fact be the same, but I don't know enough about either of them to say.

From http://www.thaitable.com/Thai/Ingredients/...hili_pepper.htm

'Prig chee fah', is not very hot and often used for its color and spice. The name literally means pointing toward sky chili. It is about3-5 inches in length. It comes in green and red.

Also, from another topic in eG, Fuchsia Dunlop writes:

Re facing heaven chillies

Actually the chillies are much less of a problem than the Sichuan pepper, for which there is no real substitute (although all the dishes will work and taste good without it, they will just lack that zingy Sichuan pepper feeling). Although the facing heaven are the most common chilli used in Chengdu cooking, other chillies are used in the region, eg smaller, thinner pointy chillies which are popular in Chongqing. The main thing is to choose a type which will give a good red colour and yield a heat you find palatable. Just experiment with whatever is available in your local spice shops. No need to be too dogmatic about this one.

Incidentally, these days I am mostly using a ground Korean chilli to make my chilli oil (I buy it in London). It is quite mild and gives a spectacular ruby colour to the oil, so you can use the oil in generous quantities without blowing anyones head off. It is more like the Sichuanese two golden strips chilli than the facing heaven, i.e. milder, redder.

best wishes

Fuchsia Dunlop


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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Thailand has similar chiles.  They may in fact be the same, but I don't know enough about either of them to say.

From http://www.thaitable.com/Thai/Ingredients/...hili_pepper.htm

'Prig chee fah', is not very hot and often used for its color and spice. The name literally means pointing toward sky chili. It is about3-5 inches in length. It comes in green and red.

I just bought some seeds for the following:

Prik Chi Faa (Capsicum annuum)

This chilli is one of the major chillies used in authentic Thai cooking. The meaning of this popular Thai chilli is “pointing to the sky.” Prik Chi Faa chillies are about 3"-4" in length.


The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

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There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of LANDRACES + CULTIVARS + F1 hybrids of Capsicum annuum, C. baccatum and perhaps several other other species that have erect [as opposed to pendulant or downward facing] fruit. These are found in ALL regions that grow chiles.

To claim X is NOT Y merely because X is heaven facing is not quite relevant because thousands of types ARE heaven facing. No region has any monopoly over erect fruiting types. X may be an erect type or landrace with particular qualities, taste etc. selected for in region X, or brought out fully only in terroir X, therefore different from Y. That might be a more meaningful statement.

Thai chilies, be they chee faa, or khee nuu, or their many variants, will vary dramatically with soil & climate. The same chili grown in Thailand or Bengal tastes very different from one grown in a pot or garden in a more temperate climate: heatwise it may be almost the same, but the full flavor bouquet developed under the tropical sun and particular soils is often absent in the fresh chili. Same with cilantro!!


Edited by v. gautam (log)

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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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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?

2009/05/11

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

http://avenuefood.com/2007/10/03/mapo-dofu.aspx


The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

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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?

2009/05/11

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

http://avenuefood.com/2007/10/03/mapo-dofu.aspx

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 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"?

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 (log)

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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"?

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?

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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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.

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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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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!


The link "Cooking - Food - Recipes - Cookbook Collections" on my site contains my 1000+ cookbook collections, recipes, and other food information: http://dmreed.com

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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.

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

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