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Smoked tofu and peppers 青红辣椒炒香干


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2 hours ago, abcdefg said:

Pretend you are a sweating line chef in a gray undershirt, an unlit cigarette tucked behind one ear, toiling deep in the bowels of some busy Chinatown dive, putting in 16 hours a day to pay back the Snakehead gang that smuggled you over from Fuzhou two and a half years ago in a freighter. Take a deep pull of beer from your recycled Starbuck's coffee cup and smell the aromatic smoke coming off that wok as you do your thing for the 50th time since you rolled out of bed early this morning.


Is there a novel coming out soon? Or is this how abc pictures himself while cooking?


Love the recipe. Smoked tofu is one of my favorites. Do you have access to it year-round down there? My favorite tofu shop has around 15-20 different kinds of tofu made in a small room right next to the window where they sell the tofu, but they only have smoked tofu in winter. When I don't have access to smoked tofu, I do a similar recipe with 酱油豆腐 or 豆腐干.


The best smoked tofu I've had was in a tiny 农村 by the border between 江西 and 浙江 on my way back from 三清山. The buses had all left and we hitched a ride with a guy going the same way (found using 顺风车) who insisted he had to treat us to dinner. While I fought and swore that I wouldn't eat anything (feeling guilty and full from my instant noodles), I predictably gave in once the food was laid out in front of us. The town was famous for tiny lake fish (the size of a pinky) dried and stir fried, as well as smoked tofu. If I understood correctly, the town's name in dialect was something along the lines of 小鱼村 (the dialect in Western Zhejiang is impossible to understand). Wowzer, that tofu was awesome. I could have ordered five more plates of it. The stir fried dried fish was also great. I came back to Hangzhou and went hunting for smoked tofu for the sake of comparison, but it was already too late in the season and the tofu masters had largely ceased production.

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22 hours ago, Alex_Hart said:

Is there a novel coming out soon?


Absolutely! Book being launched in the first quarter of the coming year. Kindle version first. It's about cooking in China as a way to gain insight into the culture and weave oneself into the fabric of non-foreigner daily life.


It will introduce a selection of foodstuffs and seasoning ingredients, explain key preparation techniques, and present recipes that one can follow at home. I have written it with an eye towards helping expats who would like to learn how to "cook in Chinese." So I have made an effort to include Chinese names for ingredients, spices, kitchen tools, cooking techniques and so on.


This should make it easier for people living here to use Chinese recipes that they find on-line, and make them better able to shop for supplies. A side-mission of this slim book is to give people living in China a better set of tools for understanding restaurant food, to help them become better able to order intelligently from a Chinese-only menu when dining out.


I would like it to be a convenient entry point into how to make regional Chinese food in an authentic Chinese way. It is heavy on Yunnan cuisine, offering a substantial sampling of glorious ethnic minority dishes.


And even if one doesn't want to cook, one will still find the book interesting and useful, I hope, as a way to appreciate authentic Chinese food. Hope to provide a bridge for venturing beyond the usual three or four "Laowai-in-China" staples.


Will keep you all posted as the project progresses.

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