Archives for posts with tag: asian

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet (except to say this post is for you, Patri!). The proof is in the pictures, after all. It’s closing in on 2 a.m. here and I am so wishing I had some of this dish leftover to eat right now. Eat at 2 a.m.?! Who does that! Oh, um, me. I’m not afraid to eat at this hour, oh no. A muffin held off most of my hunger but what I really wanted was Ma-Po Tofu.

Bits of beef and soft pieces of tofu have simmered in a salty, spicy red sauce that absolutely screams EAT ME!! And so we did. And it was good. I’m not sure what originally drew me to this recipe — probably the promise of a spicy kick on a cold night — but I’m so glad I made the effort.

Not that it takes much effort to make it. This recipe moves quickly, once you have everything chopped and combined in various bowls. Plate it over a bowl of hot rice and let the flavors scream in your ear (and mouth), too.

Ma-Po Tofu
slightly adapted from Epicurious
serves 4

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (I used regular, freshly-cracked pepper)
1 1/2 pounds soft (not silken) tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons Szechuan chili sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black-bean paste
4 Tbsp Hoisin sauce, split
2 Tbsp Asian chili powder (I used 3/4 Tbsp red pepper flakes)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup peanut oil
8 ounces ground beef
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), washed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup rice wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Hot rice

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add tofu, remove from heat, and steep (uncovered) for five minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer tofu to a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine chili sauce, black bean paste, 2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

In another small bowl, combine cornstarch and 3 Tbsp water. Set aside.

Heat a large saute pan or wok over medium high heat, then add peanut oil until hot. Add beef, ginger, garlic, scallions and leeks, cooking until meat is fully browned (roughly 3-4 minutes). Add rice wine, cook until mostly evaporated (roughly 1-2 minutes). Add hot bean paste mixture and cook until mixture is incorporated (roughly 1 minute).

Add tofu, broth, soy sauce and remaining 2 Tbsp of Hoisin sauce and bring to a boil. Whisk cornstarch if it has begun to separate, and add to pan. Cook for roughly one minute, or until mixture thickens slightly.

Serve over hot rice, garnishing with chopped cilantro. Enjoy with unabashed ardor.

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This was one dish whose name I could not for the life of me come up with — there were way too many delicious ingredients to leave out of the title. But, instead of making it “Creamy peanut butter sesame noodles with soy sauce garlic chicken and crunchy radishes and celery,” I stuck with the current title. Thank you, Matthew, who came up with that one within a minute of looking at the ingredient list. And thank goodness for patient husbands who put up with random recipe-title-creating requests.

On to the recipe — yum times infinity! I’ve made this dish dozens upon dozens of times but have never once attempted to stray from the original ingredients. After eating it the first time I knew there was no way you can tamper with this sort of delicious concoction. Creamy peanut butter melds seamlessly in a sauce made with dark sesame oil, garlic, honey, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes and honey. And soy sauce. How could I forget? Once the linguine noodles are cooked, the peanut butter mixture is poured on top, creating a perfectly (I do not use that word lightly here) creamy sauce in a recipe which could happily end there — but thankfully does not. Crunchy is needed to combat creamy, and celery, radishes and freshly sliced green onions fit the bill here. Chicken breasts marinated in garlic soy sauce adds a bit of moist protein perfection.

Oh my goodness, I want to make this again right now as it closes in on midnight. The recipe came from a coworker at my first job as a fledgling reporter in a small town in Southwest Colorado. Loved that place, but seriously, I love this recipe. Hope you do, too. Merry holiday! 😉

Creamy Thai Peanut Noodles with Radishes
serves 4-5

3 chicken breasts, pounded flat
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb linguine noodles
2/3 cup soy sauce, halved
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp powdered ginger/1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup dark sesame oil
2 celery stalks, chopped coarsely
1 bunch radishes, rinsed, chopped coarsely
2-3 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
2/3 cup peanuts, chopped coarsely

Place flattened chicken breasts, garlic and 1/3 cup of soy sauce in large bowl. Make sure chicken is coated, cover, and place in refrigerator until ready for use.

Clean and chop celery, radishes and green onions. Place in bowl with peanuts and set aside.

Remove chicken from fridge and saute in large pan over medium high heat until no longer pink in middle (roughly 10-12 minutes).

Cook linguini noodles in large pot of water, drain. In separate bowl, combine remaining soy sauce, water, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, honey and sesame oil. Add to cooked noodles, stir until combined.

Add chicken, celery, radishes, green onions and peanuts to noodle mixture and serve immediately. Attempt to keep slurping noises to a minimum when devouring dish.