Thursday, 18 October 2012

disanxian & tofu + cabbage soup

Two of my favourite discoveries while I was living in Beijing were 地三鲜 (disanxian) and 豆腐白菜汤 (doufubaicaitang). 地三鲜 is the greatest eggplant dish ever, featuring the 'three earth treasures', a complicated and oil heavy (but delicious!) combination of eggplant, potato and green capsicum in a soy saucey roux. 豆腐白菜汤 in contrast is a simple soup made up of tofu, chinese cabbage, and not a lot else, which is deceptive in its tastey-ness. It looks really boring and sounds really plain, but it's actually one of my favourite soups ever. Be warned if you order either of these in restaurants, though - sometimes they're made with chicken stock!

As I have mentioned before I learnt how to cook a lot of dishes during my year in China, and I hope to share a lot of them with you now that I'm back in my own kitchen and trying them out here at home, but these are by far my favourites and hence why they were almost the first thing I cooked upon my return. The delay in blogging them is mostly because I was too lazy to translate out of Chinese and into English for you. Sorry! I promise I do love you!

I'm posting these two recipes together because I only have the one picture - tofu and cabbage in a white bowl on a white background makes for the brightest photo ever! So it didn't really work out.
地三鲜 / Disanxian 
Three Earth Treasures
2 garlic cloves, minced ish
two chinese soup spoon of dark soy, and the same of light soy
half a cup of stock
a little cornstarch

1 big eggplant (or 2 small eggplants), cut into chunks that are about twice as big as the potato.
2-3 medium potatoes, cut into funny, irregular but similarly sized chunks
1 green capsicum, cut into chunks

a whole lot of oil

Bring up the heat on your wok and load it up with some oil. Fry the potatoes until golden! Remove them, and (in the same oil, add more if necessary) fry the eggplant until golden! Fry the capsicum for a minute or two! Remove most of the oil (if you need to, I usually use just enough oil from the beginning that by the time I get to this stage there's not much left whoops), leaving just enough to do some stirfrying.

Fry the garlic, then add the stock and the soy sauce. Bring the soup to a boil, and thicken it, then add the vegetables and give it all a chance to reduce. You want this dish to be a little saucy but not too much!

Fried and delicious, it's so tasty. Serve with other dishes and something carby.

Tofu + Cabbage Soup

I would just like to reiterate that there are no words to describe how much I love this soup. It can also be served with some rice noodles, but I like to have it as a final dish in a banquet.

an appropriate amount of chinese cabbage, enough to fit into two hands when it's shredded thickly
five or six cups of veggie stock
a shake or two of salt
a shake of rice wine
thinly sliced ginger, about 2cm
400g firm tofu, diced into cubes of about 2cm
a teaspoon of sesame oil
optional: a star anise, a shake or three of light soy sauce, some rice noodles, dried shiitake mushrooms

Bring stock to a boil and add the ginger, salt, cabbage and rice wine, as well as the soy sauce and star anise if you're adding it. Allow to simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, then add tofu, and allow to cook through (about five minutes). Add (rehydrated) mushrooms, noodles, or sesame oil at this point if you're adding them.

Serve with your meal. It's delicious.


Hayley said...

The tofu and cabbage soup looks like all my soup dreams comes true! I'll have to give the recipe a whirl sometime soon.

steph said...

Hayley it is so good! It is indeed soupy goodness.

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