But then I found out the Incident gang was going ahead and posting in support of Penny, and I'm all for that. Watching someone grieve is a helpless feeling, because there is nothing at all you can do. That said, it's important to show your support, so if you have a moment please go stop by Penny's blog, check out her tribute to her father, and give her some love. I know she will appreciate it. Penny - this post is for you.
Before I get to my dish, I've got a really cool giveaway at the end of this post. It's a bottle of Dragon's Hollow Chinese wine. As far as I know, it's the only fine wine produced in China - but it makes sense, as it's on the same parallel as Napa and Bordeaux. I met David Henderson, the company's founder, at the Fancy Food Show, and after tasting his delicious wine (at 10 am!) I set this giveaway up. More 2 year blogoversary festivities! As always - you have to get to the end of this post to see the goods.
Now, on to my dish. Its genesis involves a bit of mild adventure. While at the Fancy Food Show I made it a point to stop by as many international pavilions as possible, including the China Pavilion. Funny thing, though - some of the Chinese booths seemed, for lack of a better word, sketchy. Sparsely appointed spaces, people huddled in corners, not engaging with - even ignoring - the conventioneers. Not all, certainly, but enough to make it notable. Take this booth for example:
|Hello??? I'm over here!!!|
Good - bring it on! Turns out it was a fiery mapo tofu, made with this sauce of broad beans and chilis:
If you look at the label, you'll see it's made in Pixian County ... Sichuan Province. Score. Now keep in mind that all the exhibitors at the Fancy Food Show are free sample crazy. I was literally walking around with a bulging sack full of 'em. So when the chef asked me if I'd like a bag of the Sichuan paste, I was totally unprepared for her response when I said yes: "That'll be 3 dollars." What the ... ?
Yep, I was getting scammed at the Fancy Foods Show. But what the heck - I wanted this stuff for my Sichuan Party dish and so I forked the money over, shaking my head all the while. Sigh.
So, on to my actual dish. Last year (in my other life as a journalist) I reviewed a local Indo-Chinese fusion restaurant, and ever since I have ben thinking about Paneer 65, Indian curd cheese bathed in glorious chili sauce. If you're unfamiliar with it, Indo-Chinese food is an Indian-infused Chinese cuisine that developed in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) over the last century.
So I decided to merge mapo tofu, a quintessentially Sichuan dish, with Paneer 65. Kind of an Indo-Chinese-Chinese fusion. Yum!
I had a small problem at first in that I went a little crazy with the Sichuan sauce and the garlic chutney and the sauce ended up way too salty, so I poured some off, added more broth and let it cook down. And then all was well. I served it with cucumber yogurt raita and basmati rice. Oh, and ...
1. Leave a comment
2. Tweet the giveaway and come back and tell me that you did
3. You get an EXTRA CHANCE if you leave a comment that demonstrates you actually read this post and didn't just skip to the giveaway part.
There - three chances to win. I will announce the winner on Friday, August 5, and use Random.org to choose.
If you don't drink you can still leave me a comment! Just tell me you don't want to be entered.
In the meantime, check out the other Sichuan dishes, and make sure to send Penny some love.