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A spicy twist in Chinatown

February 27, 2009 4:10:00 PM PST
In this edition of Neighborhood Eats, it's a new restaurant in Chinatown with a different and spicy twist.Away from the hustle and bustle, on a little street called Pell, is a new restaurant. Famous Sichuan may not be famous yet, but one of the owners thinks it will be a destination, since Chinatown offers mostly Cantonese.

Sichuan refers to the Chinese province, and that's where all of this restaurant's chefs are originally from. And one popular dish is ma poh doh fu, or bean curd, Sichuan style. Chef Jiang starts by steaming a pound of soft tofu and straining it.

Then, to hot oil, he adds ground beef sauce made from fresh red chilis. That's followed by garlic, dried chilis, black beans and Chinese green onions, sort of like leeks.

The tofu is then returned to the wok. Chicken stock and starch are used to thicken it. It's topped off with flower pepper.

And what the chef recommends for that sweat-inducing spice is a beer or a sweet rice soup. That's a dessert, and there's lots to try.

Recipe for ma por dou fu, or bean curd, Sichuan style

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb soft tofu or bean curd
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup ground beef
  • 3 TBLS Red chili paste (found in Asian specialty markets)
  • 2 tsp minces garlic
  • 1 tsp dired red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup Chinese black beans
  • 1/2 cup leeks, diced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 TBLS Corn starch (or more as needed)
  • 1 tsp ground flower pepper (found in Asian specialty markets)

    Preparation:

  • Cut bean curd into slices, in hot wok, quickly steam in water

  • Remove, drain and set aside

  • Heat oil in wok

  • Add the ground beef, saute quickly

  • Add garlic, chili paste, chili flakes, black beans, leeks, soy sauce

  • Continue sauteing. Then add stock and reduce a bit. Return bean curd to wok, thicken sauce with corn starch. Plate and add flower pepper to taste on top.


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