every four years,
i’m surprised when election time arrives,
the level of vitriol increasing incrementally,
this latest season reaching obscene heights.
i became a citizen just in time
to vote in a historical president,
and it seems like we’re on the cusp of
voting in another historical president.
(at the time i wrote this post,
we did not know who the new president would be.)
mayhap with the passing of this season
things will settle,
be less contentious,
our facebook feed will go back to
i’ll catch up on the Brange drama;
though i wonder in the aftermath
of such hate,
and the tacit permission to be so unkind,
i wonder what the consequences will look like?
growing up tofu was consumed fairly often,
it’s nutritious and cheap.
lentils is a relatively new addition to my repertoire,
it’s also nutritious and cheap.
combining the two,
a western ingredient in an asian dish,
seems about right in this climate.
if only we could be so kind
in the blending of our cultures.
note: you won’t use all the chili bean paste oil, it can be stored in fridge for a long time, used to top other dishes, like ramen or dandan noodles.
it’s spicy AF, dw was like, WHY IS THIS DISH SO ANGRY?!
note**: i’ve made this a few times, with/out the chili oil, with meat or with lentils, it changes depending on what we have in the pantry. what is the always the same is the tofu, i’m a firm tofu lover, the silken/soft stuff makes me mad. another thing, i always use the french lentils because they hold their shape better.
chili bean paste oil
1 cup of grapeseed oil
1 – 2 TBL of douban paste, i use lee kum brand
2 TBL chili pepper flakes
combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and heat at medium. with a spoon break the paste as best you can and fry for about 5 minutes, until the flakes turn brown. take off heat and cool completely. strain into a clean jar/container. keep in fridge until use.
the main event
1 package of firm tofu, wrapped in kitchen towel & pressed down with something heavy to draw out excess water
1/2 cup of lentils, i used black/french, cooked (cooked in water for about 30 minutes)
splash of oil
a knob of ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced/minced dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water
2 TBL of douban paste, i use lee kum brand
splash of chinese shao-xing wine, rice wine is fine
splash of dark soy sauce
1 tsp of ground sichuan peppercorn, i use penzeys
1 – 2 cups of veg stock
1 TBL cornstarch + 2 TBL cold water
after tofu’s been pressed of excess liquid, cube it and set aside.
heat up a large skillet with some oil and the ginger and garlic, take care to not burn. add in the lentils, along with the mushroom and douban paste. stir it through so that the lentils are fully mixed with the paste. add in the shao-xing wine, dark sauce and ground peppercorn. cook it through for a minute or so and then add the stock and tofu cubes. lower the heat and allow to simmer until reduced by half. (i like my chinese dishes liquidy cus i enjoy pouring the sauce over rice). add in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. gently mix everything and the liquid is fully thickened, and transfer to serving bowl.
top with a tablespoon or so of the chili oil, heated in a small pan. serve with hot rice.