Thursday, May 05, 2005
Taiwanese Marinated Tofu and Anchovies Appetizer
Taiwanese Marinated Tofu and Achovies Appetizer
For the first entry, I dedicated it to my husband Richard who is a Taiwanese. This recipe is not from a recipe book but from my own creation based on an appetizer that we tried together back in Taipei when we ate in a local restaurant.
There is a misconception that Taiwanese people can not eat hot and spicy food. This is not true and this dish will change your misconception.
The first time my husband took me to his country he introduced me to hot shabu-shabu and when the waitress asked me how hot should my shabu shabu taste, I thought since I am an Indonesian and I can certainly eat hot I request for the hotest one. It turn out to be a big mistake. The only time I can eat my shabu shabu was the first spoon that I put in my mouth.
One of the ingredients in here that is hard to find is Szechuan peppercorn. You can omit this if you can not find it. The reason why I used this ingredients is, if the chilies give you a kick in your tongue, then this peppercorn will give you a kick in your throat. This is an important ingredients in some of Szechuan cuisine such as authentic Ma Po Tofu.
For the marinated tofu, you can also substitute it with plain dried tofu. The different is it has less taste and softer only. This type of tofu is not the same with the normal tofu because it has less liquid and more compressed. It is not as easily to crumble too.
For Chili Oil, if you can not find it, you can make it easily. All you need is a cup of any vegetable oil that you like and 1/4 cup of dried chili flakes. First put the oil in a pot over medium heat until it gets really hot. Place the dried chili flakes in a heat proof bowl like Pirex then carefully pour the hot oil on it. Be carefull because it will splatter. After it cool down a little bit, you can strain it to make chili oil, or you can let the chili stays and use this oil to drizzle any food that you want it spiced up. When you put this oil in a jar and place it in the refrigerator. This oil can stay fresh for couple of months.
From the beginning till the end, this dish probably only takes about 15 minutes to make. Very easy indeed. For Taiwanese, this dish is perfect for an appetizer and for a snack while you drink Beer with your friends. But for Indonesian who just can't eat anything without rice. This is a perfect dish for eating with hot rice anytime of the day.
Pictures of the ingredients :
1 Package of Marinated tofu
1 Tbs of Szechuan peppercorns
2 Cups of dried anchovies
4 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 cup of dried chilies
4 star anises
5 green onions
2 Tbs of black beans
2 Tbs of chili oil
2 Tbs of sesame oil
Salt to taste
MSG (optional) or 1/2 tsp of sugar
Picture of the black beans that I used but you can certainly use other brands.
Step 1 : Soak both dried anchovies and the black beans in separate bowls. This will ensure both the anchovies and the black beans plumper.
Step 2 : Slice the green onion and mince the garlic.
Step 3 : Use medium-low heat then add both chili oil and sesame oil together. Then add dried chilies, star anise, Szhechuan peppercorn, and garlic.
Step 4 : When you can smell the garlic, Szhechuan Peppercorn mixture, add the black bean and stir fry for few seconds only.
Step 5 : Add the anchovies to the wok and stir fried it briefly.
Step 6 : Mix in the slices tofu into the wok. Add salt according to your taste. And at the last second add the slices green onions before you turn off the heat.