When growing up in San Francisco there was not a more festive holiday than Chinese New Year. The sidewalks of Market Street would be lined with thousands of people on a usual cold, damp and foggy evening in February to watch the colorful and loud parade. And then there was the star of the parade. The flowing dragon who was both lead and followed by dancers tossing firecrackers to ward off any evil spells. Now, as an adult and away from San Francisco, I still like to celebrate Chinese New Year with the difference being, I do it with food!
Who doesn't love Chinese food? According to statistics, the favorite "foreign" food of American's is Chinese food.
This soup, or stew, is just amazing and fits into our collection of the Chinese New Year foods. It is also very nutritious, loaded with pure yumminess and features prawns! The other thing we really like about this soup, which the Chef calls a stew, is it has all those wonderful and exotic tastes of Asia.
Ingredients needed to make Szechuan Stew (serves 4):
- 2 pounds prawns, shelled and deveined
- 1 pound extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 green onions, cut in thirds
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 3 whole star anise
- 3 strips orange zest
- ¼ cup corn oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs. whole black peppercorns
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup rice wine
- 2 Tbs. sweet bean paste
- 1 Tbs. Chinese chili sauce
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 Tbs. cornstarch
- 3 Tbs. water
- In a medium saucepan combine the prawns, tofu, green onions, ginger, star anise and orange. Add just enough water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Remove the prawns and tofu after 10 minutes and cook the rest for 30 more minutes.
- In a small skillet over medium heat add the oil, garlic, peppercorns, soy sauce, rice wine, sweet bean paste, chili sauce and sugar and cook 3 minutes.
- Stir the sweet bean mixture into the soup, cover and cook 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water.
- Place the prawns and tofu into serving bowls.
- Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the soup until the creamy color disappears and it has thickened.
- Before serving remove and discard the star anise and orange zest.
The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."