I've washed dishes, posted on Travelpod, and prepared tomorrow's lunch, so let's productivity up some more! Here are two recipes, as requested by Becca and Emily.

Apple Crisp

(My mother's recipe. Not sure where she got it.)


7 medium apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbs lemon juice

3/4 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter or margarine


Peel, core, and cut apples (either slices or cubes) and mix with lemon juice and brown sugar. Put in greased oven-proof baking dish.

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Cream butter and add to the mixture. Spread topping over the apples.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 375F/190C.

Mapo Tofu

(The original recipe is from rasamalaysia.com, though I modified it a bit.)


1 block tofu (recipe says silken, I prefer firmer)
200g ground pork
1 tbs cooking oil
2 tbs chili oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs Sichuan spicy bean paste (豆板酱, doubanjiang)
1 1/2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs light soy sauce
1 heaping tbs spicy fermented black bean sauce (豆豉酱, douchijiang)
1/2 cup water
2 stalks green onion, chopped into 1-2cm lengths
1 tbs Sichuan peppercorns, crushed (I do it with a pestle)


Drain tofu, cut into cubes, set aside.

Heat wok on medium to high heat, pour in oil and chili oil.

Add garlic, pork, bean paste. Stir-fry until pork is half-done.

Add chili powder, soy sauce, black bean sauce. Stir-fry for a minute, until all is well blended with the meat.

Add tofu and water. Stir gently to blend, taking care not to break tofu.

Lower heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add Sichuan peppercorns and green onions. Stir gently to blend.

Serve hot over white rice. It's even tastier after the tofu's had a bit of time to soak up the flavours! I can usually get five or six meals out of this.


Since cooking with a wok on high heat means you don't have time to mess around, I prepare the ingredients together in little bowls beforehand: one for the garlic and bean paste; one for the chili powder, soy sauce and black bean sauce; one for the Sichuan peppercorns and green onion.

The original recipe calls for 1/4lb (~110g) of pork, but I like more of it. You could use another ground meat or omit it altogether. Eggplant works, but needs longer to cook to absorb the liquids.

Ground pork in Japan is anything but lean, so I reduced the amount of oil (original said 2 tbs of cooking oil). Adjust as you see fit, i.e. more or less oil and the proportion of chili oil vs. regular.

The original recipe calls for 1 tsp of fermented black beans, rinsed and pounded, but that's too much work for me, so I use the sauce. XD Some sort of black beans are necessary, as they add a rich, salty note that brings depth to the dish. I do have black beans in my cupboard, so I'll have to try them someday.

For the bean sauces, Lee Kum Kee brand does both, and is probably the easiest to find.

The original calls for salt to taste, but I find the soy sauce and black bean sauce are plenty salty.

* * *

If any of you try these recipes, I want to know how they turn out! ^_^
My priorities, I has them straight. Which is why I'm typing this when I should really be getting to bed. Why have I been so exhausted this past week? I'll tell you next time...

But seriously, food. Why is it so amazing? I think I'm going through one of my hormone-sponsored "OMG food is so wonderful and all these magical tastes are awesome!" kicks. I'm not complaining, it makes eating even more fun! It also motivates me to cook, which is a good thing.

Also: I found poppy seeds! Even better, they were in a store in Kichijouji that specialises in baking supplies! Yay! It's called Cuoca and they've got other branches as well as an online shop. Reasonable prices, too! Well, for that sort of thing in Japan, anyway. -__-;

I meant to take a picture, but maybe tomorrow: my latest stir-fry is tasty indeed! Because, as Eda and I agreed at one point, cardamom is a very sexy spice. Here, have a recipe. Sesame and Cardamom Stir-Fry )

Let me know if you try it out. Kira? ^_^

If you're wondering why on earth I thought to include cardamom, it's because I've become a spice fiend and troll supermarkets looking for more spices. The other day I scored some discounted cardamom powder and whole cloves, which brings my spice count up to I Need a Real Spice Rack territory. Santa? :D



February 2012

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