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Exploring "Land of Plenty" Fuchsia Dunlop [Was- Mapo Tofu]

Exploring "Land of Plenty" Fuchsia Dunlop [Was- Mapo Tofu]
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  • Post #121 - May 28th, 2012, 1:07 pm
    Post #121 - May 28th, 2012, 1:07 pm Post #121 - May 28th, 2012, 1:07 pm
    Many thanks. I assumed--incorrectly, of course--that "gan" was the kind of pepper. It didn't occur to me that it might simply mean dried. Wonderful; got what I went for, several times over.

    Any guesses on the package with the white ink pagoda?
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #122 - May 28th, 2012, 1:08 pm
    Post #122 - May 28th, 2012, 1:08 pm Post #122 - May 28th, 2012, 1:08 pm
    Oops, too late. I'll go ahead and post anyway.

    Gypsy Boy wrote:I bought bought all three packages of peppers you illustrate (only the ground were available at Chinatown Market--at least this morning). I wonder, though: are ganla jiao the same as "facing heaven" peppers? The characters seem distinct. I also got the other package you illustrated (with the white ink pagoda"; can't tell yet exactly what they are, though I've been perusing the net off and on since I got home.

    The four photos I posted this morning were taken Saturday evening at Chinatown Market. I don't remember any being in short supply.

    Ganlajiao is dried hot pepper. The smaller yellow characters above are chao tian (facing heaven). Here's a little pepper dictionary that might be helpful.

    辣椒 = là jiāo = hot pepper
    面 = miàn = flour = ground
    干 = gàn = dry
    朝天 = cháo tiān = toward day = facing heaven

    I'm looking forward to hearing more about what you bought (especially the various brands of dou ban jian) and what you make.

    mtgl wrote:
    Rene G wrote:I'm getting a little better at figuring out Chinese chili labels but I can't decipher that third large character that follows the stylized 辣椒 (la jiao = hot pepper).

    I believe that third character is just 'gan,' which I think means 'dried' here. You can see the 'simplified' version (and phonetic component) of it on the bottom half of the right side of the character. I really only recall seeing this used in the context of tofu--doufu gan, or just gan zi--but it makes sense to me here.

    Thanks!
  • Post #123 - May 28th, 2012, 2:30 pm
    Post #123 - May 28th, 2012, 2:30 pm Post #123 - May 28th, 2012, 2:30 pm
    Here is the selection of dou ban jian I picked up today. All (except for #3, about which, more at the bottom) state that they were manufactured in Chengdu.

    1. “Pixian Broad Bean Paste,” Dandan Condiment Co., Ltd.
    2. “Pi Xian Dou Ban,” Sichuan Gao Fu Ji Food Co., Ltd.
    3. “Sichuan Broad-Bean Sauce,” Ah Hung (doesn’t specify a city of manufacture but appears to be made in Guangdong)
    4. “Pi Xian Broad Bean Sauce,” Chengdu Lion Pavilion Food Co., Ltd.
    5. “Pixian Broad Bean Sauce,” Spicy King
    And, not strictly dou ban jian (?),
    6. “Pixian Seasoned Bean,” Spicy King

    Image
    Numbers 6, 4, and 1.

    #2 is gfj-003, about the tenth item down the list.


    And, finally, last, but not least:

    Image
    Appears to be the same as my #5, although mine is in a large, clear, extremely basic, plastic pouch.

    I can’t find a picture anywhere or even a descriptive page about #3, the product, the maker, or even the importer.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #124 - July 11th, 2012, 6:52 am
    Post #124 - July 11th, 2012, 6:52 am Post #124 - July 11th, 2012, 6:52 am
    To supplement my post immediately above: went shopping again to pick up some odds and ends that I neglected to get the first time around and found yet one more Pixian dou ban jian. There is minimal English on the package but the ingredients clearly state broad beans. The brand appears to be Qiao Niang Fang and the distributor (?) is Chengdu Chuanxiangmeifood Co., Ltd.

    Then, in a fit of [fill-in-the-blank], I sat down, opened all seven packages and had my own personal taste test. Whew! :shock: :shock: Salty, salty, salty. Not too hot. And, surprisingly (at least to me), the results were very largely similar. Which is to say, there was not much variation in flavor. There were only two "anomalies": one was much thinner and of a soup-like consistency (the rest were pastes, some thick, some thicker still) although the flavor was pretty much on a par with all the others. And one (the Chengdu Lion) had a very distinctive, quite different flavor than all the rest. Not bad, not off-putting. Just very different. Given that the ingredients listed were only chilis, broad beans, salt, and wheat flour, I cannot imagine what the flavor was. On the whole, some were saltier, some had chunkier (larger) pieces of chilis, some were a little spicier than others (though none was especially hot) but the flavor profile was remarkably similar across seven different packages.

    Although I have no idea how I will use this much stuff, I labeled each one, stuck each in its own container, and placed them all in the extra refrigerator. Anyone who wishes to visit for a taste test of their own is welcome to visit--seriously. I am more than happy to get--indeed, I actively invite--others' input on the differences.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #125 - November 11th, 2012, 2:21 pm
    Post #125 - November 11th, 2012, 2:21 pm Post #125 - November 11th, 2012, 2:21 pm
    Has anyone ever seen or used this brand? I found it at Assi Plaza in Niles today, $1.49 for 500g. Even if it's awful, I've only blown a buck and a half -- quite the bargain compared to the jars of non-Pi Xian stuff I've bought (usually $2-4.) I plan on making something with it this week, so stay tuned to this channel.
    Image
    IMG_20121111_140150.jpg

    (a few days later)
    I made Dunlop's fish-fragrant eggplant tonight. The above paste has a sharp, funky smell, a bit like rotting vegetables with a spicy undertone. It's earthier and spicier than the non pi xian stuff I've bought jarred.

    End result, though, I don't know that it's a big difference. What I ate tonight was fantastic, but it usually is with the other stuff too.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #126 - December 27th, 2012, 9:52 am
    Post #126 - December 27th, 2012, 9:52 am Post #126 - December 27th, 2012, 9:52 am
    If anyone's looking for the yeast balls to make homemade laozao, when I went searching for them I checked an apothecary first, and they didn't have them but the woman wrote this note for me. She told me to take it to Mayflower and show it to them, and they would hook me up (not her words, but you know). When I first asked the woman who wrote me the note she sternly asked, "yeah, but do you know how to make it?" I gotta kick out of this little adventure.

    The yeast balls were above one of the meat freezers, middle isle.
  • Post #127 - May 19th, 2014, 7:33 am
    Post #127 - May 19th, 2014, 7:33 am Post #127 - May 19th, 2014, 7:33 am
    thought this might be of interest for those looking to step up their wok hei game

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/the- ... t_readmore
  • Post #128 - July 13th, 2015, 12:44 pm
    Post #128 - July 13th, 2015, 12:44 pm Post #128 - July 13th, 2015, 12:44 pm
    Folks,

    Lookie what's now available from Amazon: the one, the original, pixian douban from the company of the same name. It's the same stuff I found years ago, (note upthread) in the Sichuan grocery store in Montréal.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #129 - July 14th, 2015, 6:43 am
    Post #129 - July 14th, 2015, 6:43 am Post #129 - July 14th, 2015, 6:43 am
    Any source in Chicagoland?-Richard
  • Post #130 - July 14th, 2015, 7:13 am
    Post #130 - July 14th, 2015, 7:13 am Post #130 - July 14th, 2015, 7:13 am
    Upthread I'd found a different pi xian dou ban jan at Assi Plaza in Niles, but lost it after my freezer defrosted last month and I could not find it at Assi again.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #131 - July 14th, 2015, 9:15 am
    Post #131 - July 14th, 2015, 9:15 am Post #131 - July 14th, 2015, 9:15 am
    Richard--

    I'm in waay Upstate NY, which is why Amazon is such a blessing on stuff like this! So I don't know re: Chi-town. But IIRC Gary looked and looked and couldn't find this brand (which, IMO, is the Original Real Thing) anywhere--but that was a few years ago. Might be different now. It's pricey, but I'm willing to pay for it bcz of the high product quality!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #132 - July 15th, 2015, 10:12 am
    Post #132 - July 15th, 2015, 10:12 am Post #132 - July 15th, 2015, 10:12 am
    Geo wrote:Folks,

    Lookie what's now available from Amazon: the one, the original, pixian douban from the company of the same name. It's the same stuff I found years ago, (note upthread) in the Sichuan grocery store in Montréal.

    Geo

    What arrived is somewhat different packaging: It's got a cardboard box instead of a pouch. I see though, that it's the same "GreenFood" brand that I'd gotten from Assi (at a much cheaper price if I could actually find it there again), which is indeed what is at Amazon.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #133 - July 17th, 2015, 10:02 am
    Post #133 - July 17th, 2015, 10:02 am Post #133 - July 17th, 2015, 10:02 am
    I have seen the Sichuan Pixian Douban Company paste at China Town Market before, but not right now. I would not buy that Amazon stuff, it is incredibly overpriced. A good article is here http://themalaproject.com/pixian-chili-bean-paste-douban-jiang/ on brands. I use the one with the woman on it recently. Also Lao Gan Ma makes a chili paste now that is different from typical Si Chuan doubanjiang but is equally delicious.

    Now if I could just find Si Chuan Tian Mian Jiang...
  • Post #134 - July 17th, 2015, 12:31 pm
    Post #134 - July 17th, 2015, 12:31 pm Post #134 - July 17th, 2015, 12:31 pm
    botd--

    Of course the Amazon Real Thing is "incredibly overpriced." But that's hardly relevant, is it? The relevant issue is, quite simply, do you pay Amazon's price, or have no pixian douban jiang at all?

    Welcome to capitalism!! :)

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #135 - July 17th, 2015, 12:53 pm
    Post #135 - July 17th, 2015, 12:53 pm Post #135 - July 17th, 2015, 12:53 pm
    Geo wrote:Of course the Amazon Real Thing is "incredibly overpriced." But that's hardly relevant, is it? The relevant issue is, quite simply, do you pay Amazon's price, or have no pixian douban jiang at all?

    I think "overpriced" is relevant. Last time I wanted the real thing I went to 5 stores from Argyle to Cermak spent many hours driving around and invested in multiple seeming similar products that were salty cr*p.

    Once click and I have the correct Fuchsia Dunlop approved product at my door. And yes I ordered pixian douban from Amazon, thanks Geo, and can't wait to wade back into the Mapo Tofu stream.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #136 - July 17th, 2015, 12:55 pm
    Post #136 - July 17th, 2015, 12:55 pm Post #136 - July 17th, 2015, 12:55 pm
    Gary--

    "LIKE" :)

    Wait until you taste it! Pure elixir.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #137 - July 18th, 2015, 7:37 am
    Post #137 - July 18th, 2015, 7:37 am Post #137 - July 18th, 2015, 7:37 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Geo wrote:Of course the Amazon Real Thing is "incredibly overpriced." But that's hardly relevant, is it? The relevant issue is, quite simply, do you pay Amazon's price, or have no pixian douban jiang at all?

    I think "overpriced" is relevant. Last time I wanted the real thing I went to 5 stores from Argyle to Cermak spent many hours driving around and invested in multiple seeming similar products that were salty cr*p.

    Once click and I have the correct Fuchsia Dunlop approved product at my door. And yes I ordered pixian douban from Amazon, thanks Geo, and can't wait to wade back into the Mapo Tofu stream.


    I certainly agree with you!
    Since there does not appear to be a local source, ordered a packet with Anupy Singla's new book to get Free Shipping.
    Only thing is that Free Shipping is not 'one click', as you have to go back and alter the Standard Shipping.-Richard
  • Post #138 - August 29th, 2015, 6:22 am
    Post #138 - August 29th, 2015, 6:22 am Post #138 - August 29th, 2015, 6:22 am
    I understand that it's pretty trivial price if you can't get any reasonable substitute, but the chinese woman doubanjiang is very similar and you can buy it for something like $2 or less in Cermak. Also you can buy the Amazon brand at Mayflower Foods in large plastic tubs https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5216/5430924776_51250f8cac_b.jpg for at least half the price. I should point out that in my copy of Land of Plenty, Dunlop recommends Lee Kum Kee doubanjiang, so what is Dunlop-approved is a moving target.

    What I really want to find is pickled chili paste which is pretty crucial for a lot of fish flavored dishes. I use sambal oelek right now. I have seen huge jars of pickled heaven facing chilis, but I don't really need that many...
  • Post #139 - February 6th, 2017, 11:03 pm
    Post #139 - February 6th, 2017, 11:03 pm Post #139 - February 6th, 2017, 11:03 pm
    LTH,

    I've been smitten with Szechuan newcomer A Bite of Szechuan. I've cycled hard back to Szechuan including making Mapo Tofu for dinner tonight.

    Its been a while, turned out well, the bride gave thumbs up.

    Mapo5.jpg Homemade Mapo Tofu
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #140 - February 7th, 2017, 9:54 am
    Post #140 - February 7th, 2017, 9:54 am Post #140 - February 7th, 2017, 9:54 am
    liking the nice liberal dusting of peppercorn there ^
  • Post #141 - February 22nd, 2017, 10:57 pm
    Post #141 - February 22nd, 2017, 10:57 pm Post #141 - February 22nd, 2017, 10:57 pm
    Hungry when I got home from work typically I'd have a turkey sandwich or bowl of cereal but, as I had ingredients for mapo tofu, I thought what the hell. :)

    Started some rice, mapo tofu came together quick, quite satisfying and plenty leftover for breakfast. I will say having Pixian doubanjiang mentioned upthread, instead of salty sh*t made from soybeans, makes a world of difference as does quality Szechuan peppercorns from The Spice House

    MopoLTH1.jpg Homemade Mapo Tofu (Loosely from Land of Plenty)
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #142 - February 23rd, 2017, 8:19 am
    Post #142 - February 23rd, 2017, 8:19 am Post #142 - February 23rd, 2017, 8:19 am
    The tougher thing is *not* making it every day when you realize how much of the recipe is just basic Chinese pantry staples (black beans, tofu, rice...). Even the doubanjiang keeps well (and is easy to portion off) frozen. For me the limiting factor is the leeks in the recipe I use, and that Sue isn't a big fan of dishes with a lot of Sichuan peppercorn. Sue is on a church trip this weekend, I think it's time to pick up a leek.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #143 - February 23rd, 2017, 8:33 am
    Post #143 - February 23rd, 2017, 8:33 am Post #143 - February 23rd, 2017, 8:33 am
    BTW, Amazon is now selling smaller pouches of Pixian Douban for c. $7 Prime--bought one just now.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #144 - February 26th, 2017, 10:20 am
    Post #144 - February 26th, 2017, 10:20 am Post #144 - February 26th, 2017, 10:20 am
    Another read on mapo. One 5oz burger, one cube of shelf stable tofu, one leek, lots of other flavorings
    2017-02-26 10.17.58.jpg
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #145 - March 2nd, 2017, 2:24 am
    Post #145 - March 2nd, 2017, 2:24 am Post #145 - March 2nd, 2017, 2:24 am
    Slipping down the rabbit hole, Kung Pao Bacon made at work for a possible Baconfest 2017 entry. Real deal Pixian Douban makes a noticeable difference.
    BaconKungPao1.jpg Kung Pao Bacon w/Barn & Company Hickory Smoked Kung Pao Wing
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #146 - March 19th, 2017, 8:49 am
    Post #146 - March 19th, 2017, 8:49 am Post #146 - March 19th, 2017, 8:49 am
    ImageIMG_0798 by lougord99, on Flickr

    I made Ma Po. In the past, I have made it the way Fuchsia says to, but I like it better when I brown the tofu in oil before proceeding. I got the pixian douban from Amazon and it is far different and seems to be much better than the ones I have gotton on Argyle St. It may be expensive, but I certainly didn't use more than 25 cents worth.
  • Post #147 - March 24th, 2017, 7:04 am
    Post #147 - March 24th, 2017, 7:04 am Post #147 - March 24th, 2017, 7:04 am
    ImageIMG_0801(1) by lougord99, on Flickr

    This is currently our favorite dish from the book. It is 'Dry-fried beef slivers' . Thin sliced flank steak is cooked in oil until all liquid is expelled and it begins to crisp. Then pixian douban ( chili bean paste ), celery, ginger, scallions and soy sauce are added. It is finished with ground roasted sichuan peppercorns and toasted sesame oil.
  • Post #148 - March 24th, 2017, 7:58 am
    Post #148 - March 24th, 2017, 7:58 am Post #148 - March 24th, 2017, 7:58 am
    lougord99 wrote:It is 'Dry-fried beef slivers'

    Looks delicious, wish I had that for breakfast right this very moment.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #149 - July 16th, 2017, 3:25 pm
    Post #149 - July 16th, 2017, 3:25 pm Post #149 - July 16th, 2017, 3:25 pm
    In The Guardian today, Fuchsia Dunlop wrote an appreciation of Yan-Kit So’s work for the OFM Classic Cookbooks series, explaining how the great food writer inspired her to start cooking Chinese food. Before Ms Dunlop’s books started appearing, I found Yan-Kit So’s works to be by far the most useful English sources. Today’s column includes five recipes that all look worth trying. Did you know in China hot and sour soup often included chicken or duck blood?
  • Post #150 - July 17th, 2017, 12:19 pm
    Post #150 - July 17th, 2017, 12:19 pm Post #150 - July 17th, 2017, 12:19 pm
    lougord99 wrote:ImageIMG_0801(1) by lougord99, on Flickr

    This is currently our favorite dish from the book. It is 'Dry-fried beef slivers' . Thin sliced flank steak is cooked in oil until all liquid is expelled and it begins to crisp. Then pixian douban ( chili bean paste ), celery, ginger, scallions and soy sauce are added. It is finished with ground roasted sichuan peppercorns and toasted sesame oil.


    That is an excellent recipe. In Every Grain of Rice , she has a similar recipe where she essentially inverts the ratio of celery and beef. I make it all the time sans-beef as a quick vegetable side dish.

    Someone mentioned storing their doubanjiang in the freezer. Like miso, this stuff will last a few months at room temperature and nearly indefinitely in the fridge. May help save on freezer space and at least makes portioning it out easier.

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