Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Sichuan Fish & Tofu Hot Pot

A friend of mine is a big fan of Sichuan food, so for his birthday myself and a friend offered to cook him a Sichuan feast. We arrived at his house, laden with chillis and other goodies that made his kitchen table heave. Cooking 9 dishes while getting slowly sozzled, there were some misses (namely a made up bitter melon with black fungus dish) but most were hits. Fish fragrant aubergines were as delicious as usual, while twice cooked pork was seriously moreish and a smacked cucumber salad was soothing yet spicy.

One of my contributions was a fish and tofu hotpot. It was the veritable firebomb; dried chillis and Sichuan peppercorns bobbed around in the broth while it simmered merrily away, intensifying in flavour and turning a deep, troublesome red.

Cubes of tofu were slipped in for some wibbly wobbly texture and at the very last minute, chunks of coley were added to barely cook in the broth.

It was stunningly, awesomely spicy. "Eee! Arrrghh! AHHHHH!" resonated around the room as we slurped a teaspoonful of broth each. When tempered with plain white rice though, the flavours of the fish shone through, freshness added by the spring onion garnish.

Sichuan Fish & Tofu Hotpot

Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal

1/2 a block of firm tofu
300gr white fish, cut in chunks - I used coley
500mls chicken stock
A couple handfuls of dried chillis - we used the long, finger-shaped ones and the squat bell shaped chillis
2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp salt
3 slices of ginger
2 stalks of spring onion

Add the chillis, ginger and the peppercorns to the stock and simmer for a good 40 minutes. 10 minutes before serving, add the salt and the tofu, cut into chunks. Finally, add the fish to the broth and take off the heat. Leave to stand for 10 - 15 minutes, garnish with the spring onion and serve. Instruct your guests to fish out the tofu and the coley, spooning minimal broth on lots of steamed white rice as you go.

Other dishes we made are detailed here.

9 comments:

William said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is your friend helen graves? Or is Sichuan birthday parties the thing right now? I just read her blog and you are the next one on the blogroll..

Lizzie said...

Hi William - you are not wrong, it is Helen. You can catch her and her camera in the top right of the opening photo, in fact...

Gourmet Butcher said...

Lizzi this looks fantastic! You have a very luck friend!! I want to give the sichuan fish and tofu hotpot a shot!!! If i'm serving it to ppl who are a little fearful of "spicy food" will I just go easy on the chillis??

Ute@HungryinLondon said...

Wow, I didn't know cooking Sichuan was that easy... sounds delicious!

helen said...

Ooowww Eeeeee Arrrggghhhh! That day, and the next...

The Grubworm said...

Wow, there is some genuinely serious chilli action going on in those pics. That looks like one sumptuous feast and a seriously impressive day of cooking.

The hot pot itself looks wonderfully simple to make, i have never really thought of using chicken stock in a fish dish, i bet it makes it wonderfully (and gently) meaty.

corina said...

Wow! That looks amazing. Good enough to tempt me to try tofu. Usually I find it a bit bland and rubber but I'm sure this gives it lots of flavour.

Greedy Diva said...

yum. that is all.

keri said...

Okay. So you can do anything ...

so what?