Mapo Tofu (麻婆豆腐)

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Time of Cooking: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound regular tofu (tender ones)
  • 1/2 cup minced meat-beef or pork
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Doubanjiang
  • 1 teaspoon fermented black beans (also known as dou-chi and fermented soya beans)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt for soaking the tofu cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn or peppercorn powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of water or broth
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of ground beef or pork
  • 2 garlic cloves,finely chopped

Water Starch

  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon starch

Instructions:

  1. Cut tofu into square cubes (around 2cms). Prepare a container; pour some water with a little amount of salt. Then put the tofu cubes in to soak for about 10 minutes. Move out and drain.
  2. Get a wok and heat up around 1 tablespoon of oil for about 1 minute, fry the minced meat until almost cooked. Transfer out.
  3. Heat up another tablespoon of oil over medium fire; fry doubanjiang, garlic and fermented black beans until you can smell the aroma.
  4. Turn up the fire and add tofu cubes in. Add around 1/2 cup of water or broth,rice wine and soy sauce. Wait for boiling. Taste the dish at this step to see whether any extra salt is needed.
  5. Stir the water starch in. Simmer around 2 minutes with high fire until the sauce is thickened. Mix fried minced meat and some of the green onions.
  6. Transfer all the content to the serving plate. Garnish the rest of chopped spring onions on top and Sichuan peppercorn powder if you want.
  7. Serve hot with steamed rice, steamed buns or breads.

Notes:

The doubanjiang may differ in salinity. So adjust the amount if necessary.

Chinese Braised Sweet and Vinegary Spare Ribs (糖醋排骨)

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Time of Cooking: 2 hours 10 mins

Main Ingredient:

  • 2 lbs spare ribs (baby back ribs, about 20 ribs) sauce/marinate:
  • 2 cup black vinegar (such as Koon Chun or Chinkiang)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 3″ section of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly sliced

Instructions:
1. Prepare the sauce/marinate by cooking sauce     ingredients together in a large and deep frying pan/chef’s pan on medium-low heat (ribs will be added in the same pan later on). Stir occasionally until brown sugar has melted completely. When it starts to boil, turn down the heat to low and keep warm.
2. Sear spare ribs on all sides, 1-2 minutes each side, preferably in a cast iron. Then transfer them to the pan with sauce.
3. Cover with lid and let the ribs cook for 1 hour on low heat. (Sauce should already been thicken/reduced at this point, and will continue to do so. Adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding water a little at a time.)
4. Uncover and check the ribs by moving them around with a tong. Continue to cook for 1 more hour with the lid on.
5. Transfer the ribs onto a serving plate and pour some of the sauce on top, if you like. Serve immediately.

Notes: For a more intense and richer flavor, keep the cooked ribs in the sauce overnight (and in the fridge). The next day, simply reheat on the stove.

Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes (番茄炒蛋)

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Time of Cooking: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 middle size tomatoes
  • 3 large eggs or 4 middle size ones
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 4 green onions cut white part into sections and finely chop the green part
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 1 and 1/4 tablespoon cooking oil

Instructions:

  1. Add around 1/4 tablespoon cooking oil, cornstarch (optional) and pinch of salt in cracked eggs. Whisk everything together until well-blended and set aside.
  2. Remove the skins (optional): soak the tomatoes in boiling water and remove the skin. Cut into wedges.
  3. Heat up ½ tablespoon of cooking oil, pour in egg. Stay for around 20 to 30 seconds until the eggs are shaped as large chunks. And then cut the egg cake into small pieces according to your own preference. Move out and set aside.
  4. Heat up ½ tablespoon of cooking oil; add tomato juices to fry over medium fire until you see tomato juice in your pan. Return egg chunks and white parts of green onions. Add salt and sugar. Slow your fire and mix everything well.
  5. Garnish some chopped green onion for decoration before serving.

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