Chili Peppers with Pressed Beancurd

I was thrilled to see chili peppers at the Westside Farmers’ Market last Thursday and to find a bell pepper in my CSA box as well. For this dish, choose your favorite chilies from among the larger, spicier varieties such as poblano, anaheim, etc. -or use a mix of green and red varieties. Can’t take the heat? Use bell peppers. This is a great time to use the burner on your outdoor grill or turn the exhaust vent on its highest setting!

Pressed beancurd, called doufu gan (sort of translates into “tofu jerky!”) is literally tofu that has been pressed to squeeze out excess moisture. The result is a firmer texture that some people compare to meat, although the flavor is of course different. Pressed tofu comes in a variety of flavors – the most common one for this dish is plain, which is creamy white with a light tan exterior. You can easily substitute baked tofu, now readily available in most conventional markets, for this ingredient.

ingredients

  • 4 ea chili peppers
  • 2 squares plain pressed beancurd
  • 1 T oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fermented black beans (optional)

method:

  1. Cut the tops off the chilies and remove the seeds (or leave them in if you’re truly brave!)
  2. Cut into sections that are large, but still can be picked up with chopsticks – quarters or eighths are usually a good choice as they will expose a good, flat surface.
  3. Cut the beancurd into thin rectangles, approximately 1/4″x1.5″x1/8″.
  4. Heat the oil in a wok until it shimmers, then stirfry the chilies until they are slightly softened and the skins are a bit charred.
  5. Add the beancurd, stirfry to heat it through.
  6. Season to taste with salt and/or fermented black beans (you may not need both), then serve immediately with lots of rice!
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