Mr. Bear is not a big dessert person. The one and only dessert that he really likes, other than ice-cream, is lemon tart. He has repeatedly requested me to make one for him, but sadly his requests are usually
ignored gracefully declined because I myself is not a citrus lover. However, today is a special day and he deserves a good piece of lemon tart, simply because... today is Mr. Bear's birthday. =)
Sunday, September 9, 2012
I hope everyone had a good weekend. It's Sunday night which means it's Shinya Shokudou cooking club time again! I was talking to my friend Miss W a couple days ago and she told me she was trying to follow the recipes I posted. (Thank you!) However, although some of the recipes are labelled "easy", the ingredients that are called for are not generally things that she would stock up in her pantry; and since she doesn't cook frequently, she's worried that the leftover ingredients are going to rot in her house if she can't finished them up all in one go. Well, I guess this week's challenge is going to be very suitable for her.
This week's challenge is Buta no Shogayaki, 豚の生姜焼き. This pork and ginger stir-fry is a simple but delicious combination. The first time I had it was at a tiny Japanese restaurant serving mostly the locals near my old office. Ever since I left that job, I have not been back to the restaurant (and I heard that it has moved to a less convenient location as well). Since then, I have never had Buta no Shogaki that tastes quite the same... not until a few days ago when I tried to make it at home...
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Sunday, September 2, 2012
It's Shinya Shokudou time again! This week's challenge is Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐) or in Japanese, マーボー豆腐.
Mapo Tofu is one of my family's favourites and it's relatively easy to prepare so it can be thrown together quickly when I'm a little lazy to cook (hence a great Lazy Man's recipe!). If you go to an Asian supermarket, you can even find various instant sauce packets for it, even though making it from scratch isn't all that difficult either, and it's MSG-free!
As a Chinese, it has always been known to me that Mapo Tofu is a Chinese dish from the Sichuan province. Although I know it is very popular amongst the Japanese, just like a Japanese tourist would not go to China to eat sushi, I have never ordered Mapo Tofu in Japan, so I don't exactly know the difference between the traditional Sichuan version and the adapted Japanese version.
For this exercise, I wanted to make Mapo Tofu the Japanese way instead of the version that usually appears on our table, otherwise it would not be a challenge! When it comes to Mapo Tofu, Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi's famous recipe is the most representative in Japan. Iron Chef Chen's father is regarded as the pioneer who introduced Mapo Tofu (and Sichuan cuisine in general) to the Japanese. Iron Chef Chen made his classic Mapo Tofu dish in the Battle Tofu episode to pay tribute to his father. I really liked this episode and it remains to be one of the most memorable ones out of all those that I have seen.
I would have thought that, like the Japanese style curry, this recipe would be milder and sweeter than the traditional Mapo Tofu that I am used to, but it turns out it's not and I think it's at the right level of spiciness going so well with steamed rice. I love that it has a little tongue tingling sensation one expects from an authentic Sichuan dish. This is a great recipe and I see myself making it over and over again.
1 block of firm cotton tofu (木綿豆腐), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 spring onion, separate the white part and the green part, chopped finely
80g ground pork
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 garlic, chopped finely
1 heaping tablespoon doubanjiang (Chinese chili bean sauce, 豆瓣醬) – I used Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce since I have that at home already and it works well
1 heaping tablespoon tianmianjiang (Chinese sweet bean sauce, 甜麵醬)
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, chopped finely
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped finely
1 teaspoon ichimi togarashi pepper
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 tablespoon corn/potato starch
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon huajiaofen (Sichuan peppercorns), grounded
1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the tofu and on medium high heat. Turn off the heat when the water boils again. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a wok and add ground pork. Cook on high heat until browned and separated.
3. Add seasoning (A) to the pork quickly and stir well.
4. Add tofu to the wok and seasoning (B), the white part of the spring onion and garlic, stir-fry gently for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add starch paste (corn/potato starch + water) and turn the heat to medium. Stir slowly until sauce thickens, and then chili oil and swirl gently.
6. Add grounded Sichuan pepper before transferring to a plate and sprinkle the green part of the spring onion as garnish. Serve with steamed white rice.
1. Precooking tofu in water prevents tofu from breaking apart easily later.
2. I normally use silken tofu but this time I wanted to stick to the recipe and used cotton tofu instead. Both Mr. Bear and I prefer the softer texture of the silken tofu. If you also prefer your tofu soft and smooth, I recommend that you use silken tofu, but you have to be extremely careful when you stir-fry because silken tofu falls aparts very easily.
Let's take a look at other members' Mapo Tofu!
Let's take a look at other members' Mapo Tofu!