Chapter 23: Testing a New Dish!
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
A sound came from the stove, and a ball of azure flames was released.
After the pot heated up slightly, Xu Le added some vegetable oil into it.
The reason why he chose the vegetable seed oil was because it was thicker and could cling on the tofu better. Upon eating the dish, the oil fragrance would then overflow.
After the vegetable seed oil was heated, he added the beef fillings for stir-frying.
As Xu Le used the spatula to quickly flip the beef, the rich aroma of beef fat immediately wafted out and filled the entire system space.
He added all the soybean paste that he had minced earlier and stir-fried it again!
This process required thorough stir-frying.
Until its fragrant!
He added some scallions and ginger into the pot and stir-fried it evenly.
By adding these small ingredients earlier, not only could it reduce the oil temperature in the pot, it could also help to improve the flavor.
He sprinkled the chilli powder into the pot using the familiar proportion.
With a ratio of seven to three, the cone pepper and tabasco pepper were added into the wok and stir-fried evenly, releasing their fragrance.
Cone pepper was mainly used to enhance the fragrance while the tabasco pepper was used to increase the spiciness of the entire dish.
He added yellow wine, soy sauce, vinegar, and water.
After adding half a contained of water, he added some sugar and immediately the scent of freshness and spicyness was emitted.
Perhaps many people would think that adding sugar to spicy dishes was a very contradictory action.
However, in reality, a small spoonful of sugar would not add much sweetness to the entire dish. Instead, it would make the entire spicy dish even more delicious and increase the depth of flavors.
Now, it was finally the turn of the protagonist of this dish.
Xu Le placed the tofu that had been boiled by the side into the pot, soaking it in the bright red sauce.
In order to make the taste of the entire dish more harmonious, Xu Le added half of the shredded pepper into the pot.
The remaining half had to be added when it was ready to be served.
“Numbness” and “spicyness” were the two main flavors of this dish, and both had to be highlighted.
Gulp, gulp, gulp…
Bubbles formed in the pot and white smoke was coming out.
Xu Le, who was standing in front of the pot, could clearly smell the spicy aroma wafting toward him, causing him to salivate.
The next step was to thicken the gravy.
But Xu Le was still standing in front of the pot, motionless.
He seemed to be waiting for something.
Many people could not produce any taste in their cooking because they were too anxious to start thickening the gravy once the liquid started boiling.
The cooking time was too short and the taste of the food had yet to blend in.
After thickening the gravy, it was as if the ingredients were wrapped in a thick layer of cloth. Of course, the taste would be less able to enter the food.
Hence, Xu Le had to wait for the perfect opportunity.
He focused his attention on the pot.
A moment later, Xu Le scooped up some tofu with the spoon and realized that the rich sauce had adhered to it and was slowly sliding down.
This meant that the tofu had been simmered to the point where it was ready. Even before the gravy was thickened, the sauce was already thick enough to hang on the wall.
Xu Le had already mixed the starch and added a spoonful into the pot.
It would take three attempts to reach perfection.
After stirring it slightly, Xu Le turned the fire to medium heat and added a second spoonful of the starch.
Using a spoon, he gently stirred the tofu in the pot.
One must not use too much force here. Once too much force was used on the soft and smooth tofu, it would very likely shatter.
After the simmering, Xu Le added the sauce for the third time before the gravy was ready.
The pot of Mapo Tofu had also reached its thickest state.
Now was the perfect time to serve the food. Xu Le knew that he could not delay any further. He immediately sprinkled some green onions on the pot and poured them onto the plate!
Then, he sprinkled the garlic sprouts onto the plate, turning them into a green decoration on the glossy dish.
But even now, this dish was still not complete.
The gravy already had a strong taste of pepper, but the surface of the tofu still lacked some color.
Xu Le scattered the pepper granules that had yet to be ground evenly on the plate.
A plate of spicy and fragrant [Mapo Tofu] was done!
With huge anticipation, Xu Le scooped up a spoonful of white tofu.
The tofu seemed to be empty and there was no resistance at all.
There was a thick sauce on the tofu.
The two seemed to be stuck together and could not be separated at all. This was the embodiment of cooking till the stage of integration.
The white and tender tofu, the deep red chilli, the dark brown pepper powder, and the sticky gravy were all combined together and swallowed in one big mouthful!
This experience could only be described with one word—
“If only I had a bowl of white rice.”
Xu Le could already imagine a plate of Mapo Tofu and a bowl of fragrant white rice.
One mouthful of tofu and one mouthful of rice.
After one was 80% full, they could add another half a bowl of rice.
Even though he had already finished eating the tofu, he could scoop out the gravy from the Mapo Tofu and pour it over the half bowl of rice. After mixing it with the tofu, it was even more fragrant than eating meat. This time, he ate until he was full and until both his body and mind were satisfied.
He ate until his mouth was full of red oil and it was so spicy that he had no choice but to drink water. Then, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
This was a day that only gods could enjoy.
However, Xu Le knew that his Mapo Tofu still had many flaws.
The eight details of Mapo Tofu: numbness, spiciness, hotness, fragrance, crispyness, tenderness, freshness, and liveliness.
Although he had accomplished them, he did not do it to perfection.
For example, the numbing taste and spiciness were not enough. This was because Xu Le was not thorough enough when he chopped the bean paste.
The meat filling wasnt crispy enough either. Since he had replaced the pork with beef, there should be some slight adjustments to the cooking method.
Xu Le believed that the final product would be better if it was fried for another 20 seconds or so.
There were also many small problems, including the fact that the tofu was not smooth enough and the taste was not fresh enough…
However, given that this was his first time making Mapo Tofu, Xu Le felt that it was quite good overall.
Then, Xu Le started to try over and over again.
This was the greatest advantage of the system space.
What was the best way to improve his culinary skills
The answer was simple, and that was to keep practicing.
He had to pay more attention to the details of each attempt and improve on his flaws.
Every time, he improved a little.
What about after a thousand times
What about after ten thousand times
With this thought in mind, Xu Le practiced in the system space for a month.