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Pictorial: Ma Po Tofu

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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 (log)

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