Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 1, 2012 Lunch – La Salita; Dinner – MaPo Dofu

June 1, 2012  Lunch – La Salita; Dinner – MaPo Dofu

I went with Mike Verhagen to La Salita for my favorite new New Mexican dish, Chile Relleno stuffed with Swiss cheese.  I loved it as usual, especially after being deprived of good New Mexican food for over ten days in the Pacific Northwest.

Then we went to Costco and I bought whole grain bread, asparagus, lamb chops, and a bottle of Whispering Angel 2011 Rosé.

At around   I began chopping up three medium sized eggplants, a medium sized onion, an Anaheim green chili, 2-3 Tbsp. of fresh ginger root, about four cloves of garlic, two pork sirloin steaks.  When Suzette arrived at around , we went to Mariposa Gallery for Arts Crawl and when we returned home we got out the big wok and Suzette started cooking the dish.  She put about 2 Tbsp. of peanut oil in the wok and seared the meat and some of the ginger and garlic and added 1 tsp. of sesame oil.  Then I added 1 tsp. of garlic chili sauce and the rest of the ingredients. 

While the ingredients were cooking I heated water in another wok and added strips of black fungus/wood ear and sliced shitake mushrooms and some Knorr dehydrated chicken stock and started a cup of basmati rice cooking.  After sautéing/stir frying the vegetables for about twenty minutes or until soft I added the wood ear and mushrooms and enough stock to cover the mixture of ingredients and added 10 ounces of firm tofu and about 1 Tbsp. of rice cooking wine and let the entire mixture simmer for an additional thirty minutes.  Then I added a thickening solution of 1/3 cup broth to which I added 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch, 2 Tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp. of sesame oil and 2 tsp. of Rice Cooking Wine and cooked the mixture for an additional ten minutes.  At this point the sauce will turn slightly brown and thicken. 

Finally at around after watching the Stephen Colbert show, we served the dish.  It was delicious, not too spicy, with a rich balanced flavor of pork and eggplant with zippy touches of ginger.  We drank beers with the meal.

This is my favorite Chinese dish.  I have been cooking it for forty years and love it.  I tend to not make it spicy.  Most Chinese restaurants served only pork and tofu and they thicken the sauce more because that is quicker.  I usually stew the ingredients for about 30 to 45 minutes, which I think imparts a more soup or stew like flavor. The traditional Szechwan recipe for Mapo Dofu uses less meat, more chili and no eggplant.  But there are Szechwan recipes for spicy eggplant that combine pork and eggplant into stews, so I combined the two recipes and adjusted the seasoning and ingredients to what’s available.    

 Bon Appétit

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