Cooking with ChiliCult: JiaChang Doufu, Often-, Home-Cooked Tofu

Jiachang Doufu

This typical Hunan recipe does two things very nicely:

First, it turns a firm tofu a bit crispier and therefore into something with a nicer mouth feel.

Then, it combines that with chile pepper and garlic, making for a much tastier dish again.

And in the end combination of salty and a little fatty (from the cooking oil) and spicy, it is a dish that really speaks to the senses and combines perfectly with the usual rice.

No one say tofu were boring.


Rezept drucken
Cooking with ChiliCult: JiaChang Doufu, Often-, Home-Cooked Tofu
A great recipe to learn to appreciate the taste of a firm tofu, done the Hunan way
Jiachang Doufu
Menüart Main Dish
Küchenstil Hunan Cooking
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Menüart Main Dish
Küchenstil Hunan Cooking
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Jiachang Doufu
Instructions
  1. Cut tofu into slices (around 1/4 inch thick, halved once). Wash and chop the chile pepper (rather finely); peel the garlic and crush it; cut the ginger in thin slices.
  2. Heat some oil in a pan. Fry the tofu in the hot oil, piece by piece as it fits well into the pan. First let one side fry until browned well, then move and turn, let the other side brown. Put tofu that is done frying out onto a plate, continue with fresh pieces until all done.
  3. Fry the chilli in hot oil for a bit (until it is slightly discolored, if that). Add garlic and ginger, stir-fry a bit longer (at most, until the garlic starts to brown very slightly; just don't burn the chilli)…
  4. Add the water, add salt and a dash of soy sauce, get to a boil again. Turn off heat.
  5. Add tofu, turn everything to mix (but not break the pieces of tofu).
  6. Pour out into a soup bowl, garnish with the chives.
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Cooking with ChiliCult, Seasonally: Asparagus, (Austro)Hunan-Style

Before the asparagus season is over again, let’s go for a recipe in our typical Hunan style.

I’m still always feeling a bit challenged by this way of cooking. After all, how do you describe something as a recipe that’s very simple and based on the assumption that people have some idea of what they are doing in the kitchen?

Well, that’s just why I also make videos of the preparation, so you can learn by watching. This time, at least I didn’t make any mistake quite as silly as I did with the chicken wings I prepared at the same time as this asparagus dish…

Except, it should not normally be necessary to steam the asparagus under a lid, as I did here. But, oh well.

The combination found here is typically Austro-Hunan:

Asparagus is not exactly a Chinese vegetable; it is not being grown there.

Asparagus does, however, fit into the kitchen very well. It is a tasty vegetable, after all, and one that is mainly offered seasonally, at that. (There is some that starts before the real season, imported from places like Peru, but most of the asparagus we get here is grown in the Marchfeld or otherwise locally…)

Hunan-typically, we prepare it with chile peppers, of course.

And, here we have another example of a dish where it is pretty clear what sort of chilli is needed:

Green chilli. Not too hot. But with a bit of a kick.

Also, it takes garlic to add more flavor, in the way the Hunan kitchen really likes it and manages to make simple vegetables really tasty.

I did once also try bacon-wrapped asparagus, baked in the oven. It turned out pretty good, I’d say. My wife’s comment: “Sheesh, why didn’t you prepare it as always? I like that.”

Well.

So, if you have finally had enough of asparagus with some, maybe even ready-made, sauce, try this Hunan-inspired version.

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Asparagus, Hunan-Style
Menüart Main Dish
Küchenstil Hunan Cooking
Prep Time 10 Minuten
Cook Time 10 Minuten
Servings
Personen
Ingredients
Menüart Main Dish
Küchenstil Hunan Cooking
Prep Time 10 Minuten
Cook Time 10 Minuten
Servings
Personen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash asparagus, cut off thick ends if/where woody. (Peel if the skin at the end is thicker and old.)
  2. Cut asparagus in smaller pieces (about thirds), then cut those length-wise into quarters or thinner. (Make a julienne, if that tells you anything.)
  3. Wash and finely cut the chile peppers.
  4. Peel the garlic, crush it and chop it up a bit.
  5. Heat up the oil in a pan.
  6. Stir-fry the asparagus.
  7. As the asparagus gets softer, add chile pepper and garlic and fry all together.
  8. Add salt. Serve.
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Baking with ChiliCult ;) – Ischler, Experimental: Classical, Devil-Ischler with Chilli, JapanIschler with Matcha

Ischler

Ischler are double-decker cookies of a size that should not be underestimated, at least when making them like the original, with a chocolate cream-filling.

My preparation for them is simplified a bit (and it still takes quite some time to make them), and I find them one of the best kinds of cookies to experiment a bit with the filling.

Thus, I make Ischler in a classical chocolate cream-filled version, glazed with dark chocolate.

Ischler

Or, as Devil-Ischler, with a filling that incorporates chile pepper. Though frankly, I usually use chile ancho, making them with a pepper that is sweet and only slightly spicy, not really devilish.
But, if anyone leans that way, you can always put habanero pepper powder into the filling…

As Japan-Ischler I changed them a bit more, following the trend towards matcha (which has been a staple, not a trend, in this household). For that, I make the filling with white chocolate and matcha and glaze the cookies with white chocolate, as well.

Just be careful with Ischler. They are mighty tasty – and basically each one a small meal!


Rezept drucken
Baking with ChiliCult 😉 - Ischler, Experimental: Classical, Devil-Ischler with Chilli, JapanIschler with Matcha
Ischler
Menüart Cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 2 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
For the Cookies (dough)
For the Filling (classical version)
Alternative, for Matcha Filling
For the Glaze
  • 150 g chocolate glaze (for Japan-Ischler: white chocolate glaze, leave out the butter)
  • 60-100 g Butter
Menüart Cookies
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 2 minutes
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
For the Cookies (dough)
For the Filling (classical version)
Alternative, for Matcha Filling
For the Glaze
  • 150 g chocolate glaze (for Japan-Ischler: white chocolate glaze, leave out the butter)
  • 60-100 g Butter
Ischler
Instructions
For the Cookies
  1. Sieve 100g sugar and 300g flour together, combine with 200g cold butter cut into pieces, and one egg yolk.
  2. Knead together until one rather sticky glob of dough. (It will at first seem as if all those ingredients never could stick together - and eventually becomes so it seems as if more flour might be necessary.)
  3. Let rest in the fridge for a while. (30 minutes)
  4. Take out the ball of dough, knead it to warm it a bit (cold, it would just break apart and/or be too solid to work), flour the baking board/surface and the dough well, and roll the dough out to about 5 mm thickness. It will be necessary to take good care the surface underneath the dough and the surface of the dough (or the roller) are well-dusted with flour, or the dough will just stick and crumble apart. Even so, some tendency for the dough to break must be expected…
  5. Cut out circles, with a cookie shape if you have it, but a stronger glass of the desired width does the trick very well, too. Put the cut-out cookies onto parchment/baking paper on baking trays. Knead together remaining dough and cut out further cookies, repeat until dough is used up.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes at 180C; they should get golden-brown but not burnt-brown - let the thinner cookies be your guide. When done, take out of the oven and let cool well. (Do not try to hurry things and lift the cookies off when they are still warm or they'll just break and crumble!
For the Filling
  1. Dissolve 20g of vanilla pudding mix in a few tablespoons from 80g of milk, combine with one egg yolk. Heat the rest of the milk with 20g sugar dissolved in it. When boiling, take off heat and slowly whisk together the two liquids. Heat a bit, whisking constantly, until creamy. (Take care, it does not take long at all, wants to all settle into thick clumps if there's too much heat or too little whisking.) Melt 120g of baking chocolate (the one here is typically 40% cacao, so I don't add further sugar; darker one would be better but should get sugar added) and ~60g of butter. Whisk together with the pudding crème.
  2. For Devil-Ischler: Add chile pepper to the cream filling. I recommend a teaspoon of chile ancho for just a bit of its sweetness, aroma, and spiciness. But, if you feel more devilish, go ahead and use a bit of habanero powder!
  3. For Japan-Ischler: Use white instead of dark chocolate and add 1-2 teaspoons of matcha.
  4. Leave to cool out and become firm(er).
Combine Cookies
  1. Spread a good tablespoonful of the cream filling on one cookie, softly press another on top to get the crème to the edges but not over. If professionalist, spread crème as needed to get it evenly distributed. If the cream got a bit too firm, just stir it to make it more creamy before using it.
  2. Note: A simpler version of Ischler would only see them filled with apricot or other jam/marmelade; for an even more luxurious version, first spread a thin layer of - I'd suggest, sour-sweet - jam on the bottom cookie, or also on the top, and put the cream in the middle.
Glaze
  1. Melt ~150 g chocolate and 60-100g butter (or e.g. coconut oil) slowly and stir until completely combined.
  2. Glaze the filled/combined cookies with the melted chocolate. (More chocolate in the melt will make a crisper layer but be much harder to spread; more fat makes the glazing easier to spread; the professionalist may want to spread the glaze around the side with a spatula or butter knife, but that's too much hassle even for me.)
  3. I'm saying that a bit late, but: Putting the set-together cookies onto a wire rack, with the previously-used parchment paper underneath to catch chocolate dripping down, is a good idea for that.
  4. If so inclined, decorate with a walnut half after glazing. Those also make for a good axis, one finger at the bottom of the cookie, one on the walnut, around which to nibble the cookie into oblivion 😉
  5. Put in a cool place or the fridge again and let cool out and solidify; these are no cookies you can eat immediately (unless you want to have a chocolatey-crumbly mess)!
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