Homemade Chinese Spicy Steamed Tofu

Home Made Spicy Tofu Recipe

Some night, I don’t know what to make – a quick and simple dish to go with rice would be tofu! I like to buy a medium firmness tofu as it’s most versatile. After you steam the tofu it because really silky, smooth and soft. As I only cook for 2 people, I either use half or even a quarter block of Sunrise Tofu which can be purchased from the grocery stores with an Asian aisle (or of course the Asian market). If you know how to handle your tofu, I recommend buying the soft or silken tofu for this recipe! It will become almost a savoury custard.

1/2 block Tofu
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
dash of hot sauce

First, you rinse the block of tofu, and dry it well. The better job you do of drying it, the better the soy sauce will stick to the tofu as an end result.While the tofu is drying, set up the steamer. I then cut up my tofu into little cubes and arrange on a heat proof dish, and sprinkle the chili flakes on top. Cover the dish with aluminum foil so water doesn’t get into the dish while it’s steaming. While the tofu is steaming, prepare the soy sauce mixture by combining the soy sauce, maple syrup and hot sauce.

Steam the dish for about 13-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your tofu. Once it’s soft and heated through, it’s ready to go! Take the dish out of the steamer carefully and pour the soy sauce mixture over top. Serve hot and enjoy. The soy sauce taste really good over rice!

Homemade Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

I was wanting to make a soup for lunch – with a sandwich, so I roamed the grocery store and found some nice sweet potatoes. So, I figured I can make a delicious Sweet Potato Soup

4 Cups Chicken Stock
1 lb chopped sweet potato
1 chopped onion

Smokey Chipotle
White Pepper
Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper

I first chop my onions and saute them until they’re golden. While they’re browning away, I chopped up my sweet potatoes into sticks. I got lazy to do them into chunks – which didn’t matter anyway as I use an immersion blender to make the soup thick and smooth afterwards.

When the onions have softened, I add the sweet onions into the pot and give it a few minutes to develop it’s flavours.

After a few minutes, I add the chicken stock into the pot and turn down the heat. After about 45 minutes, the sweet potatoes have soften – so I use the immersion blender in the soup. You will find the soup is quite thin, so let it cook down some more and it’ll thicken more and the flavours will become stronger.

Once the soup is to the right consistency, I then season up the soup and serve. This was my version of spicy sweet potato soup so I added smokey chipotle seasoning, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper and some salt. I served this in a bowl with a gallop of sour cream. I’m not sure how much seasoning I used, but I kept tasting it until I was satisfied with the end result. It’s always best to add a little at a time until instead of adding too much and not knowing how to reduce the flavours.

Serve this soup hot and it’s really delicious. The sour cream helps cool the heat from the spicy, so it was a bowl of soup that was beautifully balanced.

Ajisai Japanese Cuisine

So, this one afternoon, we were in the Northwest – just out and about, until we realized that we haven’t had lunch yet. We wanted some sushi, and didn’t really feel like having the ones from T&T, so we stumbled upon Ajisai Sushi hidden in a commercial building, around a lot of residential housing. We actually needed our GPS to find the location, as it was off the main roads.

This place was really nice, clean, large, open and bright (from both lighting and windows) and what I love most about it is the open concept. The decorations was warm and elegant, and it’s truly a place for the local businesses to grab a quick sushi lunch.

Aijsai Japanese Restaurant

Ajisai does offer great lunch menu – both for take out and eat in! We got to eat in and started off with a few goodies. We got our Plain Miso Soup which was as it’s called “plain” miso soup. It wasn’t anything spectacular about it – yet there was nothing wrong with it! I just like starting with miso soup and this did the trick!

Aijsai - Miso Soup

Recently, I’ve started to enjoy trying Spicy Agedashi Tofu which basically is deep fried Tofu with spicy sauce – usually the sauce they use on spicy sushi/rolls. This one was deep fried really nicely – with a crispy outside, hot and soft tofu on the inside. I think the batter could have used a little seasoning though – that would enhance the dish to a million levels, even if it was just salt. I did dip my agedashi into my soy sauce, and it didn’t do the trick as it softened the deep fried crispiness.

Aijsai - Spicy Agedashi Tofu

My favourite starter of the day was definitely the Chicken Karaage which means deep fried marinated chicken, and this was also deep fried to perfection like the agedashi. The sauce tasted great, and I think it’s almost like a honey mayonnaise – or something to that nature. I would highly recommend the chicken karaage if you’re looking for a great starter!

Aijsai - Chicken Karaage

Now, after our starters and appetizers, we ordered our lunch specials – which are great set lunch combos which come in a set of stuff. The first one we had was Assorted Sushi Tuna, Salmon, Ebi, Tamago, Snapper & California Maki. The sushi wasn’t bad, but there wasn’t anything special to it. At least it didn’t taste bad, even though I think the texture was a little off. Perhaps it was still a little frozen or something, but it definitely felt different when chewing on the fish. The ebi sushi was really nicely done, and was probably my favourite on the plate. I normally really like tamago (egg sushi), but I wasn’t really turned on by this one as it had a layer of gray in the egg. I didn’t eat this piece and I gave it to my husband to try. He said it tasted fine, but again, nothing special.

Aijsai - Assorted Sushi Lunch

Following that, we also ordered the Sashimi Lunch which came with a selection of sashimi, a bowl of white rice, and a few pieces of honey glazed yams. The sashimi like the sushi, they tasted alright with an odd texture. The yams was probably my favourite part of this set lunch, and that’s pretty sad. But, the tuna and salmon wasn’t a far second – then the rest of the sashimi with the strange texture.

Aijsai - Sashimi Lunch

I really like the convenience of having a set lunch, and it would really come handy if I worked or lived around there. There are lots of options on the menu whether or not you choose to eat from the set lunch menus. I am not sure if they have set dinner menu as well, but the idea is wonderful and convenient. This restaurant seems to me like the majority of their business is weekday lunch take-away, which is nice! I may be back for a dinner to see the difference too – if I’m in the area! I guess there are a lot of other sushi places I’d try too, so I may not be returning as I can’t decided whether I enjoyed Ajisai or not.

Ajisai Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Ajisai Japanese Cuisine

750 1110 Panatella Blvd. NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 457-3802

Chi Lan – Calgary, Alberta

Well, we just got home from a short but GREAT holiday, and I wanted noodle soup… so, we went to Chi Lan as it’s close to home, and delicious!

Originally, I wanted something with a more subtle taste, but when I picked up the menu, I soon realized I was craving for spice!

We ordered a Bun Bo Hue and Hot Wings, and both was as mentioned, spicy! The wings were perfectly fried, and then tossed in a hot sauce. The skin was fried to perfection, with a nice crunch. I asked for the Bun Bo Hue with rice noodles, as it’s easier to eat! I do enjoy the round noodles they usually use, but it splashes the soup all over me… and the splatter look wasn’t what I wanted.

After eating the wings, the Bun Bo Hue wasn’t spicy, and I was able to taste the flavor of it, and it’s subtle hint of sweetness. It was really good!

At the end of the night, it was a great dinner! It’s definitely my go to noodle place! 🙂 Chi Lan is close to home, with reasonable prices and never a disappointment! Be sure to visit them yourself!

Chi Lan

4307 130 Ave SE
Calgary, AB T2Z
(403) 726-2335