|Chinese red pepper with soybean paste|
During all these years living in England, I have always kept on cooking Chinese food, all the dishes I could remember, — if not on daily basis. But it is hard to remember all of them without being in that environment, you know, seeing all the typical Chinese vegetables in the markets, or tasting traditional home recipes, or without going to local restaurants in China.
So, the best time to try my food is probably right after I come back from China for a holiday, when I can remember everything, the recipes and the seasonings. :))
Saying that, this recipe is one of those “forgotten” recipes.
This auntie (in China, you call anyone who is your parents’ peer “auntie” or “uncle”, for showing respect) told me that this red pepper dish is a famous regional dish from the Beijing area. Vaguely, I knew it was a very traditional dish, but I could not remember anything other than that. I had a dream that night — my most beloved auntie was cooking in the kitchen. So, :)) here is the answer I guess.
Anyway, so I started making this dish. This time, I found that thick skinned red pepper actually works better for this recipe.
The method of cooking this dish is called ‘Men’, as to cook with covered lid. The typical ‘Men’ dishes can be cooked with oil, or with soybean paste sauce. It generally has a very rich taste, but it can be … quite ‘oily’. There is another taste that it is not easy to find in other dishes — a little bit ‘burnt’ taste. Ok, oily and burnt — my dad would never touch this dish, he has been super health-conscious in recent years.
My suggestion is to have some fresh salad (liangcai) dish or black fungus (Mu’er) dish and plain boiled rice to go with it. So you don’t have to feel to guilty for having it. :))
The recipe: Chinese red pepper with soybean paste
It is fairly easy to make. The soyabean paste is an option if you want to use it, otherwise, a few drops of soy sauce can do the job. :) Here it goes.
Red pepper (I used 2 big size red pepper)
Oil, garlic, cooking wine, sugar, soy sauce, salt, MSG/vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional)
Chop the red pepper into 2-3cm width strips, and chop around 3 gloves of garlic into slices.
1）In a heated sauce pan, pour in oil just covering the base, then add in chopped red peppers. (Keep medium fire.)
2) When the red peppers get soft (but not necessary to be completely soft), remove them from the sauce pan, and remove all the rest of the oil. (The surface of the red pepper can be a little bit burnt, but not too much.)
3) Put the empty sauce pan back to the fire, add in around 2 tablespoons of oil, then add in chopped garlic, and 2 full tablespoons of soyabean paste (optional), 1 tablespoon of cooking wine, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of MSG/vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence (optional), mix well. (If it is still too dry for the soyabean paste, you can add some water).
4) Put red peppers back to the sauce pan, cover the lid for further… say 6-8 minutes, or until the red pepper becomes completely soft and absorbs most of the sauce. —
Hope you like it. In England, the red pepper is more ‘sweet’ and ‘juicy’, I think it works actually better for this recipe. :))