The smoked tofu really makes this dish, and the dates add some natural sweetness while the smoked serrano pepper creates a playful, unexpected spicy twist.
Yield: 2 servings
- 1 smoked serrano pepper (dried) – crushed
- 1 fresh birds eye chili, sliced
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 7 dates, pitted and chopped (could substitute 2 tbsp sugar)
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground (make sure you only use the outer shell of the peppercorn because the black “seed” is very gritty)
- 1/3 cup of water mixed with 1 tbsp of corn starch
- 2 cups of cauliflower florets
- 1 package of smoked tofu, cubed (1 cm)
- 2 scallions, sliced
- a handful of whole peanuts
- In a saucepan, brown the garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, and birds eye chili.
- Add the soy sauce, vinegar, water, hoisin sauce, and dates. Stir well.
- After simmering for 5 minutes, stir in the Sichuan pepper.
- Add the water-cornstarch mixture, and stir well until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat and let it cool for about 2-3 minutes.
- Blend smoothly.
- Dry roast the whole peanuts in a wok or skillet. When they get toasty, set them aside to cool. Once cool, crush or chop them.
- Add some oil to the skillet, and fry the tofu.
- Once the tofu is quite golden, add the cauliflower and cook until they brown evenly.
- Coat in the sauce, and toss with the scallions and peanuts.
It’s spicy, crunchy, and juicy… need I say more? I like this as a side dish to a braised tofu main dish over some white rice. It hits the spot, big time. Sometimes, if I have fresh shiitakes on hand, I will toss them in as well.
- 300g green beans, cleaned and cut into 1in pieces
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 fresh chillies, sliced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- some chili oil, to taste
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, corn starch mixture, salt, and pepper.
- Separately, in a skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the fresh chili, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and green onions. Fry for about 30-60 seconds.
- Before the garlic browns, add the green beans. Stir occasionally. They should be fully cooked in 3-4 minutes.
- Add the sauce and cook for another minute or so (medium-high heat).
- Add extra chili oil to taste.
You could call this a few different names: flatbread, pancakes, Asian roti, etc. The garlic soy sauce livens up this classic Chinese side dish/snack. It’s addictive.
Servings 1 (if you’re a piggy) or 4
- 1.5 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/4 tsp ground Chinese Five Spice
- 4 green onions, sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- Vegetable oil and a brush
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp mirin
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar or honey
- 1 clove finely minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp finely minced ginger
- 1 finely sliced green onion
- Mix the flour, sesame seeds, five spice powder, and water until it forms a dough
- Knead the dough well (5 min) – it should be quite smooth
- Let it rest for 30 minutes, covered
- Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small container and set it aside
- Divide the dough into 3 equal parts
- Roll each piece into a 7 in circle
- Brush the circle with a little oil, cover with scallions, and roll it up tightly (like a fajita/burrito/spring roll)
- Coil the burrito tightly into a spiral, and roll it out again
- In a hot skillet with some oil, lightly fry each pancake (~3 minutes per side)
- Cut into wedges and enjoy with the dipping sauce
A versatile, spicy Szechuan dish that makes me drool. It’s originally made with pork, but I think my vegetarian version is just as good. The chili oil I used in this recipe was easily made in about 30 minutes, and most of that time was just the spices simmering in the oil. However, the lazier cook can substitute premade chili oil from the Asian store. This dish is typically served with sui mi ya cai, Chinese fermented vegetables. I can’t find any vegetarian versions of this at the Asian grocery (and I don’t really want to make my own), so I either skip this altogether or substitute my vegetarian Kimchi, but it really just depends on my mood. Not a dealbreaker.
Yield: 3-4 servings
- 2 tbsp sesame paste (tahini)
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tsp red wine
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
- 1 tsp chili oil (mine is super spicy, so a little goes a long way, but you can fiddle with this as you please)
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tsp sesame oil for sauteing the vegetables and tofu
- 1 head of broccoli (broken into small chunks) or an equivalent amount of sliced bok choy
- 4 servings cooked noodles
- 2-3 cups of shiitake mushrooms or oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 1 block of tofu (diced) or an equivalent amount of tofu skin (I’m partial to tofu skin)
- 1 sliced bell pepper or 2 sliced carrots (like matchsticks)
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts
- chopped green onions for garnish
- Mix the ingredients for the sauce – everything from the tahini to the minced garlic in a small bowl and set it aside.
- Prepare the vegetables and tofu- washing and chopping, etc.
- Saute the vegetables together in the sesame oil.
- Add the sauce to the pan, stir well.
- Adjust with any additional chili oil or soy sauce.
- Serve over the cooked noodles.
- Top with scallions and peanuts.
I’m in love. This is my favorite Chinese dish to make, hands down. Read on for a hearty and mildly spicy vegan-friendly dish (I hear adding bits of ground pork makes it carnivore-friendly, and you can increase the spiciness for all you spicy-hot lovers). This makes about four servings.
- 1 block of tofu (I’ve tried it with sprouted, firm, medium, and soft tofu. It depends on the texture of tofu you prefer; I like lots of texture so I use the sprouted, extra firm variety)
- 1 lb. finely chopped fresh mushrooms (I like to split it 50-50 between portabellas and shiitakes, but I’ve used only portabellas when the shiitakes were out of season. It’s just as good!)
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. minced ginger
- 2-3 tbsp. peanut oil (can substitute olive oil or canola oil)
- 1.5 tsp. fermented black beans (I know their name is weird, but they are salty little nuggets of delicious flavor.)
- 1 tbsp. chili bean sauce (do 2 tbsp. if you like it spicy)
- 0.25 tsp. ground szechuan pepper (commonly called “prickly ash” at the Asian grocery, increase up to 1 tsp. for added spiciness)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp. cold water
- 4-5 thinly sliced green onions
- cooked white rice (as much as you like)
- Make the rice. Let it cook while you’re making the rest of this dish.
- Dice the tofu block into small pieces. Set aside so it can drain.
- Saute the minced garlic and ginger in hot oil until they’re browned.
- Add the mushrooms. Saute until they’re fully cooked.
- Add chili bean sauce, black beans, optional red szechuan pepper flakes. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, and tofu. Do a taste test to see whether you’d like more spiciness (more pepper flakes) or saltiness (more soy sauce).
- Cover frying pan, turn heat down to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add cornstarch to the desired thickness.
- Serve with the white rice, topped with the scallions.