Qabili Palau

Afghan Qabili Palau is considered the national dish of Afghanistan. Savory with surprising touches of sweetness, Afghan Qabili Palau is perfect for a dinner with guests or a grand occasion.

Many signature dishes from around the world are not everyday food, but instead are foods that are served at special occasions such as weddings and other communal celebrations. In many parts of the world meat is inordinately expensive compared to its price in the U.S. Qabili Palau is from Afghanistan and it is a version of pilaf. Due to the expense of its ingredients, it is not an everyday dish—it is mostly reserved for special occasions. Present day Afghanistan sits between what is considered the East and the West. Its cuisine reflects this. It is a syncretic blending of many different cultural influences. The cuisine employs spices commonly found in South Asia (cinnamon, cardamom and cumin), but more sparingly and without the heat of chilies. It uses other ingredients more commonly found in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cultures such as raisins and almonds (or pistachios). Grapes are a major product in Afghanistan (nearly 50% of the land used for fruit production is dedicated to growing grapes!) and many dishes, such as this one contain raisins. Qabili Palau may be made with goat, lamb, beef or chicken. The recipe presented here uses dark meat chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Basmati rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 2 pounds dark meat chicken (thighs or legs) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and julienned (like match sticks)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Preparation:

  1. Soak rice in water.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet on medium.
  3. Slowly brown onions (15 to 20 minutes—patience is required for best results!).
  4. Transfer onions to a medium sized bowl.
  5. Add more oil to the skillet, raise the heat to medium high and brown chicken, turning frequently. Do this in batches to allow the chicken to brown rather than steam.
  6. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
  7. Transfer chicken to the bowl containing the browned onions.
  8. Add 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and cook the carrots (turn frequently) for about 10 minutes.
  9. Add raisins to the skillet with the carrots and cook another two to three minutes, stirring frequently.
  10. Transfer cooked carrots and raisins to a bowl.
  11. Pour 3 cups of broth into skillet, swish around and then transfer the liquid to a large oven-safe pot.
  12. Mix all the spices and salt into the pot with the broth.
  13. Drain soaking rice and gently stir into the pot.
  14. Bring the pot to a boil.
  15. Gently mix in the chicken and half of the carrots and raisins.
  16. Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven for 1/2 hour.
  17. Remove pot from oven and transfer to a large serving plate.
  18. Artistically distribute the remainder of the carrots and raisins on top and sprinkle with almonds.*

>ښه اشتیا ولری (kha ishtya walare)—Bon Appetite in Pashto<

Recipe by: T. Johnston-O'Neill
Photo by: Emily Johnston-0'Neill

* Note: if you intend to serve the rice in the pot it is cooked in, you can arrange the carrots and raisins on top before it goes into the the oven and then sprinkle the sliced almonds on top right before serving.

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Goulash

Selected by National Geographic as one of the "Top Ten National Dishes of the World." Like many national dishes, Hungarian Goulash has humble origins connected to rural life of days gone by. Goulash is basically a beef (although pork is also traditional) soup that is uniquely flavored by the generous use of paprika, which could be considered the national spice of Hungary.

The predominant ethnic group in Hungary are Magyars (92% in 2001) and it is the preferred term of self-identification. Goulash is called Gulyás in the Magyar language and the term means "herdsmen." Although the number of cattle in present day Hungary is much lower than what is found in neighboring countries, in 1895 there were nearly 6 million head of cattle (8 times the present number) and herding and the raising of livestock was a primary economic activity. Today the Hungarian Grey cattle (which have formidably large horns) are more often seen in zoos and national parks than in the countryside; in 1975 there were only about 300 Hungarian Grey cows left in Hungary. It is postulated that the symbolic importance of goulash, establishing the Magyars as a distinct ethnic identity, came under the flourishing of Hungarian culture and arts through the rise of the Austria Hungary empire. After the defeat of Austria Hungary in World War I, Hungary lost more than 2/3rds of its territory.

Paprika is a major ingredient in Goulash. Paprika is a powdered spice made from a particular kind of sweet red pepper (Capsicum annuum), commonly referred to as a Bell Pepper. Hungarian paprika comes in many varieties that range from sweet to spicy and is sometimes smoked (although smoked paprika is more common in Spanish cuisine). Until 1920 most peppers were hot peppers until a grower in southern Hungary (Szeged) discovered and propagated (through grafting) a sweet variety. Sweet paprika is made from de-seeded fruits but spicier versions include seeds or are enhanced with a hotter pepper like cayenne. Today, paprika from the Szedged region is considered to be the finest in quality. In 1937 Hungarian physiologist Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for, among other things, discovering Vitamin C. Bell peppers, from which paprika is derived, have the 3rd highest Vitamin C content in natural foods, only bested by hot peppers and guavas. Indeed 100 grams of raw sweet red peppers has 213% of the daily recommended value for Vitamin C (yellow peppers have even more), more than twice that of the same amount of a typical orange. Hungarians distinguish at least 8 different varieties of Hungarian paprika. Goulash typically is made with sweet Hungarian paprika, but of course the restless cook is free to experiment.

Goulash recipes vary from cook to cook. The required ingredients are beef (or pork, lamb, and one wonders if tofu could be managed), onions, paprika and water. However many recipes call for the use of fresh green or red peppers, tomatoes, diced potatoes, carrots, parsnips, kidney beans, sauerkraut, caraway seeds, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, wine, vinegar, "pinched" flour dumplings (csipetke) and/or pasta. There is one variety known as "American Goulash" popular in the Midwest that is baked as a casserole and may include lots of tomatoes, elbow macaroni, corn, kidney beans and/or processed cheese. It is also sometimes made with ground beef instead of slow cooked cubed meat.

Hungarian Goulash is typically eaten out of a bowl and accompanied by rustic bread. It can also be served over egg noodles (best are German or other European egg noodles!). Using Hungarian paprika is downright essential (fortunately it is sold everywhere). This recipe can also be prepared in a slow cooker or crock pot, just remember to brown the meat first to be able to enjoy the result of the Maillard reaction (if you don't know what that is, look it up!).

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds cubed stewing beef
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil (not extra virgin) or other high-temp cooking oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 4 medium new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Cooked rice, egg noodles or csipetke dumplings (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, saute onions over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the meat cubes and brown on all sides.
  3. Stir in the paprika.
  4. Add sufficient water to cover the meat.
  5. When the pot comes to a boil, turn the temperature to low and cover the pot.
  6. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (until the meat is tender).
  7. Add caraway seeds, green and red peppers and potatoes and cook until the vegetables are tender.
  8. Add water if necessary.

Serve over rice, egg noodles, csipetke dumplings or with a rustic bread.

Recipe by T. Johnston-O'Neill
Photo by Heidi Adams

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Laksa Lamak

Singaporean Laksa Lemak is a delicious curried soup from the Baba/Nynonya Chinese tradition from Singapore and Malaysia. Laksa Lemak is a perfect dish for a small get-together as it is easy to prepare and your guests can have a hand in the final preparation.

his month's Recipe of the Month takes us to the small island nation of Singapore. The name means "Lion City" in Malaysian, although an older name may have been Pulau Ujong, meaning "island's end." The island is known to have been inhabited (albeit perhaps sparsely) for at least a thousand years. Control of the area changed hands many times.

The island of Singapore was ruled by many different Southeast Asian powers including the Thais, Srivajaya (South Sumatra), Majapahit (Central Java), Minangkabau (West Sumatra) as well as the Sultanates of Johor and Mallaca (the last local power to control Singapore before Europeans arrived. The Portuguese arrived in Mallaca in 1509, challenging the Sultan of Mallaca for power. Three quarters of a century later in 1587 they solidified their grasp of the Malay peninsula by destroying the settlement in Singapore. For the next 200 years, the island was of no particular import to the warring powers. The Netherlands wrested control of the area in the 17th Century. In a very complex series of wars involving many warring parties, the Sultan of Johor was able to regain a great deal of control. The lack of perceived strategic value of Singapore allowed the English to establish a foothold in the area with the arrival in 1818 of Sir Thomas Raffles whose strategies and plans for the area dramatically changed the balance of power in the area as the British Empire seized control (although only briefly in Indonesia). Raffles believed that by establishing a trading post in Singapore he could control the vast trade network that passed through the Straits of Mallaca. In 1891 there were estimated to be only about 1,000 inhabitants when control was officially ceded to England through a treaty with the Malay Sultan of Johor.

A mere 50 years later the population increased 100-fold as Malays, Chinese and South Asians streamed into Singapore to work in the tin mines, rubber plantations, maritime and administrative positions. The descendants of those early immigrants represent the bulk of the present day inhabitants. A majority of the early settlers—and those that settled in Malacca to the north—were Chinese from the south of China. Their direct descendants are now variously called Peranakan or Baba-Nyonya Chinese. Peranakan (Per-a-nak-an) simply means descendent, Baba means "grandfather" and Nyonya means "grandmother." They differ from more recent Chinese immigrants in that Peranakan Chinese blended their traditions with local Malay tradition (anthropologists call this cultural syncretism) and often inter-married with local Malays. In contrast, more recent Chinese immigrants are much more likely to steadfastly maintain their specifically Chinese traditions and notions of identity.

This syncretic history is not only found in clothing and rituals but also in a unique style of cuisine that is often referred to as Peranakan Chinese, Baba/Nyonya or simply Nyonya cuisine. Laksa Lemak is part of this cooking tradition. The word Laksa is of uncertain origin and meaning, but in the Malay language the root meaning of lemak is "fat" although this recipe is relatively low-fat. However, in the closely related language of the Minangkabau (who number in the millions in West Sumatra, Indonesia and also live in the Negri Sembilan region of Malaysia, the term "lemak" or "lamak" also means delicious. The Minangkabau phrase, "iyo lamak bana!" means "Wow, this is truly tasty!" We think you will discover that Laksa Lemak fits that expression to a T (as in, truly tasty). This dish is very suitable for small get-togethers of 4 to 8 people as the soup base can be prepared beforehand. Guests can assemble the rest at the table. All the ingredients that can't be found in a regular grocery store can be found at many Asian supermarkets (like 99 Ranch Market). We've marked these items with an (*)asterisk for your shopping convenience. After you collect all the ingredients, the dish is quite easy and fun to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup corn oil (or light tasting oil of your choice)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons grated palm sugar *
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs thinly sliced
  • 1 pound large shelled and de-veined shrimp (best if tails are left intact)
  • 2 cups coconut milk *
  • 1/2 pound fish balls (these come in many varieties, we chose pollack) *
  • 1/4 pound fried tofu puffs cut in half (they are cubes about 3/4 of an inch on each side) *
  • 2 cups bean sprouts (it's important that they are fresh)
  • 1/2 package rice noodles (thin or thick, your choice!) *
  • 1/2 cup fried shallots (they come in a wide plastic container) *
  • 1 bunch fresh Vietnamese/Asian mint leaves (let diners strip the leaves off the stems when they assemble their bowls) *
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 bottle Sambal Olek (Chili/Garlic Sauce, now available in regular grocery stores)
  • 1/2 lime cut into small wedges

Spice Paste:

  • 8 small dried red chilies
  • 2 tablespoons dried shrimp (they are very small dried shrimp) *
  • 5 shallots or 3 green onions (white part and some of the green)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped galangal (aka "white ginger") *
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 large lemon grass stalks *
  • 6 candlenuts *
  • 1 tablespoon belachan (dried fermented shrimp paste) *
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Spice Paste and Soup Stock Preparation:

  1. Boil two quarts of water (which will be used for soaking the chilies and shrimp and then the noodles).
  2. Place dried chilies in a bowl and cover with one cup of boiling water.
  3. Place dried shrimp in a small bowl and cover with one cup of boiling water.
  4. Keep water on the stove to reheat for the rice noodles.
  5. Peel the galanga and the garlic.
  6. Remove the outer layer from the lemon grass, and cut the root part off and discard.
  7. Roughly chop the shallots, cloves, lemon grass (white part) and candlenuts.
  8. Drain the now soft dried chilies and dried shrimp.
  9. Place all the listed and prepared paste ingredients in a food processor and puree. Add some cooking oil if necessary to make a smooth paste.
  10. Bring water on stove to a boil once more.
  11. Put rice noodles in a large flat pot and cover with boiling water. Let the noodles soften in the water. Thin noodles only take a minute or two, wide noodles take longer.
  12. Pour the cooking oil into a 3 quart sauce pan and add the spice paste.
  13. Heat on medium high until the oil just begins to crackle.
  14. Stir paste for 3 to 4 minutes, it will become very nicely fragrant.
  15. Add chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil.
  16. Add sugar to the pot and stir.
  17. Cook chicken in broth for 4 minutes.
  18. Add coconut milk and fish balls to soup and simmer for another 2 minutes.
  19. Add shrimp to soup and simmer for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

Serving the Laksa Lemak:

  1. Drain the water from the rice noodles (Making sure first they are fully soft. If not, wait until they are).
  2. In the large bowls that you will be serving each guest or family member, distribute the rice noodles (filling each bowl a third full).
  3. The remaining Laksa ingredients can be served on a large platter to be distributed by each individual diner.

Assemble Laksa Lemak in the following order:

  1. Tofu
  2. Bean sprouts
  3. Cilantro and Asian mint leaves
  4. Push down of the previous ingredients to submerge everything in the soup
  5. Sprinkle with fried shallots
  6. Squeeze the juice of 1 large or two small lime wedges into the soup
  7. Add Sambal Olek hot sauce to taste
  8. Wait a few minutes for the sprouts, cilantro, and mint to soften a bit

Laksa Lemak is best eaten with Chinese soup spoons and chopsticks.

Before everyone starts, say with enthusiasm, "Makanlah!" (Malay or Indonesian for "Let's eat!") and enjoy!

Recipe by T. Johnston-O'Neill
Photo by Heidi Adams

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Koshari

Egyptian Vegetarian Koshari is an comfort food found both in street stalls and restaurants. The ingredients are rather unassuming and seemingly incompatible (rice, pasta and lentils together?). But they conspire to create a surprisingly harmonious and unique taste that will please and satisfy ardent vegetarians and incorrigible meat eaters alike.

Koshari (Arabic: كشرى) is an essential and beloved dish in Egypt. It is on the menu in nearly all restaurants; there are whole restaurants that sell only Koshari and it is sold by innumerable street vendors who are often referred to as "Koshari Men." While it is a quintessential Egyptian dish, many of its ingredients did not originate there. To those who have not tried the dish, the list of ingredients, and what one would imagine they taste like together is nearly culinarily incomprehensible. Somehow the strange combination works despite what one might think. Koshari has very basic ingredients. It is a food enjoyed by all strata of Egyptian society, but because the ingredients are so inexpensive and the dish is so fulfilling it is held in particular high regard by laborers and workers who exist on modest means. In many places in the world, in part due to the expense of meat and fish, non-vegetarian meals are often considered prestige or special due to their cost. Koshari is normally completely vegetarian (indeed vegan), but due to the unique combination of ingredients, meat eaters are likely to end up happily satiated after a single serving. The basic ingredients are rice (long-grain Basmati being favored), brown lentils (easy to prepare and they don't need pre-soaking), pasta (any kind will do), garbanzo beans (chick peas), lightly spiced tomato sauce and fried onions. The tomato sauce is mildly spiced with hot pepper flakes or cayenne powder. Nearly all the constituent parts (rice, lentils and sauce) are enhanced by sautéing onions in the pans beforehand. A healthy dash of Arabic 7 spice to the sautéing onions just before the other ingredients are added helps things along.

While it does require several cooking pots, preparation is extremely easy. Almost all of the ingredients are cooked separately and are assembled just before eating. Perhaps the most difficult task is caramelizing the onions for the final topping. Apparently (I haven't been to Egypt yet), watching Egyptian street vendors assemble an order of Koshari is half the fun. A deft Koshari man can assemble the dish in mere seconds with a rhythmic and percussive precision that is a marvel to behold. Koshari is assembled in layers. Start with a bed of rice, festoon some lentils over the rice, add pasta, then garbanzo beans. On top of these layers, cover with the tomato sauce and top everything off with some caramelized onions.

Baharaat (Arabic: بهارات) or "Arabic 7 Spice" is the only ingredient you are unlikely to find in a regular grocery story. Any Middle-Eastern grocer will carry it. I have provided a recipe below to make your own Arabic 7 spice. Although there are variations, black pepper, nutmeg, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon are commonly used.

Ingredients:

For the Koshari:

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 1/2 pound pasta
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions sliced thinly
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Arabic 7 Spice

To make your own Baharaat (Arabic 7 Spice):

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Koshariman
Egyptian Koshari-man: Photo by K. Douwes

Preparation and Presentation:

For the Baharaat (Arabic 7 Spice):

  1. Roast the cumin and coriander seeds in a shallow frying pan on medium heat. Turn frequently until they are light brown.
  2. Alternatively, roast the seeds in an oven. This method offers more control. Toaster ovens are particularly good for this task.
  3. Let roasted spices cool. (This is important, you might damage your grinder grinding hot spices (as I did years ago!).
  4. Place all the spices in a grinder and grind to a fine powder. If you use your favorite coffee mill for this, after you have finished and removed the spices you can grind to a powder a small handful of rice to clean the coffee mill unless you prefer to have spicy coffee!

Note: if you have several pots you can cook the following simultaneously.

For the Lentils:

  1. Pour a small amount of lentils on a flat surface and inspect for debris like little stones, put the clean lentils in a bowl.
  2. Saute 1/4 of the onions in the bottom of a pot until they are translucent.
  3. When the onions are soft and translucent, add 1 teaspoon of Arabic 7 spice. Continue cooking for another minute or so to release the spice flavors.
  4. Add water and cleaned lentils to the pot.
  5. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Add water if needed.
  7. Cook lentils for 20 to 30 minutes testing them until they turn soft but not mushy.
  8. Salt to taste.

For the Rice:

  1. In a pot saute another 1/4 of the sliced onions until they are close to being translucent.
  2. Add rice and stir continuously until the rice starts to turn opaque.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of Arabic 7 spice. Continue cooking for another minute or so to release the spice flavors.
  4. Add vegetable stock to pot.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and reduce heat to low.
  6. Cook rice for 15 to 20 minutes until done.

For the Pasta:

  1. Cook pasta according to the package instructions.

For the Garbanzo Beans:

  1. Drain the beans and rinse them in water.
  2. In a small pot cook the beans for a few minutes in sufficient water to just cover the beans in the pot.

For the Sauce:

  1. Pour the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce in a pot.
  2. Heat the sauce to a slight boil and add either chili flakes or cayenne powder to your preference. Mildly spicy is perhaps better for this recipe than super hot.
  3. How long you simmer the sauce depends on your taste. The longer it simmers the smoother it will taste, the shorter it simmers the more fresh and raw it will taste.

For the Onions:

  1. In a small frying pan or small pot, caramelize the remaining onions. Use sufficient oil to cover the onions. Use the lowest heat possible that still results in the oil bubbling. This will take a long time, 10 minutes or longer. Patience is required. Note that you should remove the onions when they are not fully caramelized because they will continue to deepen in color.
  2. Drain the onion of oil. If you wish you can lower the oil content by pressing them with paper towels.

Assemble the Koshari in the following order:

  1. Rice
  2. Lentils
  3. Pasta
  4. Garbanzo Beans
  5. Tomato Sauce
  6. Caramelized Onions

Enjoy!

;Recipe by T. Johnston-O'Neill

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Mapo Dofu

Mapo Dofu (麻婆) is a highly popular tofu dish that can be found in Chinese restaurants all over the world. It is so popular in Japan than many people think it is a Japanese dish, but it hails from Sichuan (Szechuan) province in China. There are many variations, but what is essential to nearly all Mapo Dofu recipes is tofu, scallions (green onions), Sichuan peppercorns, fermented chili sauce and fermented fava beans or bean sauce. Either ground pork or beef is often added and sometimes water chestnuts, wood-ear mushrooms. It is most typically prepared using only the base ingredients.

The term "Mapo" is contraction of the Chinese ideograph "Mazi" meaning "pockmarked" and "po" meaning "old woman". The story has it that the dish was created by a woman named Chen who lived outside of Chengdu in the late 19th century (during the Qing Dynasty). Chen had been stricken by smallpox which disfigured her which made her a social outcast. Because of this she lived on the outside of town, but her fortunes changed when she invented Mapo Dofu which she sold from her from her restaurant known as Wanfu Qiao (Wanfu Bridge). Chen's place was mentioned in the 1909 book "Chengdu Tonglan: A General View of Chengdu" a guide to the best restaurants and street food in the city. Today in Chengdu a chain of restaurants bear the name Chen Mapo Dofu whose owners claim direct descendance from the original Chen.

One of the essential ingredients in Mapo Dofu is Sichuan peppercorns (from the prickly ash tree). It tastes different than most pepper, has an anaesthetic effect in your mouth. It is often called prickly ash on the package. It is claimed that Mapo Dofu made in Chengdu uses very generous amounts of the pepper making the dish there hotter than typical versions prepared and sold in restaurants outside of China where some versions are decidedly mild in spiciness. The pepper we used was not particularly hot, but it did have a numbing effect. Mapo Dofu also uses a generous amount of oil, Chengdu is well known for the production of rapeseed oil, more commonly known as Canola oil in the United States. Although native to more southern and equatorial climes, the broad beans (fava) which are used in the form of a fermented paste are so popular in Sichuan they are sometimes referred as "Sichuan beans" outside of China. Note that many preparations of hot bean paste are made with soybeans not fava or broad beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 package of medium to firm tofu cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 4 scallions (green onion)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese fermented chili sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons fermented black bean paste
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons toasted Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced or crushed garlic
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
  • cooking oil (canola, peanut or sesame)
  • Rice

Preparation:

  1. Start cooking the rice. Mapo Dofu does not take long to prepare so begin by cooking the rice.
  2. Cut tofu into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes.
  3. Heat a pot of water to boiling and then simmer the tofu for about 5 minutes and then drain.
  4. Grate the ginger, crush the garlic,
  5. Slice the scallions into diagonal strips about 1/2 inch wide. Although most recipes call for just the green part, using the white part is fine.
  6. In a wok with a tiny bit of oil, toast the Sichuan pepper for about a minute. Stir constantly and don't burn them.
  7. Remove and set aside the peppercorns.
  8. Brown the pork in the wok breaking it into small bits with your spatula.
  9. Remove the cooked pork and set aside.
  10. Mix the cornstarch into the chicken stock and set it near your stove for quick access.
  11. In a small amount of oil fry the garlic, ginger, chili sauce and bean paste for about a minute.
  12. Mix in the sliced scallions and cook for another 30 seconds.
  13. Add the tofu, pork and rice wine to the wok.
  14. Quickly give the chicken stock a vigorous stir to re-mix the corn starch and then pour the liquid over the contents of the wok.
  15. Gently mix (fold) the ingredients being careful to not break up the tofu.
  16. Cook for another minute until heated through. Sprinkle the top with the Sichuan peppercorns.
  17. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

Enjoy!
Recipe by T. Johnston-O'Neill
Photo by Emily Johnston-O'Neill
Recipe suggested by Zhongchao Liao

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The Joomla! content management system lets you create webpages of various types using extensions. There are 5 basic types of extensions: components, modules, templates, languages, and plugins. Your website includes the extensions you need to create a basic website in English, but thousands of additional extensions of all types are available. The Joomla! Extensions Directory is the largest directory of Joomla extensions.

Components are larger extensions that produce the major content for your site. Each component has one or more "views" that control how content is displayed. In the Joomla administrator there are additional extensions such as Menus, Redirection, and the extension managers.

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