The province of Sichuan in China is famous for its taste bud killing pepper corn & spicy food. One of their most famous dishes is the ‘mapo tofu’, sometimes translated as the ‘pockmarked grandma’s bean curd’.
When my father was a young lad, he attended a university far away from home. Ever since then, he developed a strong desire for traveling. After graduation, he worked for a state-owned factory with a starting salary of 51 yuan a month. He did not have the money to travel other than travelling for work.
One year, he was fortunate enough to be sent to Sichuan for a research project. He asked my grandmother for an oil coupon. Those days most essentials were scarce and required coupons. When he arrived, he took the coupon to a well-known local restaurant and ordered a big bowl of mapo tofu. ‘The tofu was so good,’ he said to me, still with great enthusiasm, ‘ it had two spoonfuls of oil in it.”
I have had many mapo tofu dishes over the years – they all seemed to be overly oily. But I liked them just like that – I soaked up the oil with boiled rice. I could feel my father’s joy and excitement as a far-away-from-home young traveler.
Recipe is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »