Sichuan Pepper Tofu and Broccoli on Soba

I have a problem when it comes to following recipes.  Unless it’s a baked good, I appear to be almost entirely incapable of following those carefully-written instructions.

Sometimes, it works quite well.  I tweak an ingredient (or four), and all is well in the end.

But sometimes, my ego gets the best of me, and I decide that I know far better than some chef who wrote some cookbook that I’ve only been cooking out of all summer with rave results and who I should trust implicitly.  I read a recipe, and I say, “Well, that can’t be right.  I’ll just make some adjustments.”

And then, I end up with a huge pan full of gorgeous tofu and broccoli and soba that is smothered with a sauce that has the consistency of gritty, sandy dirt.  Actually, I think the dirt might’ve had a better texture.

Oh, and the house filled up with smoke, let’s not forget the house full of smoke.  So much smoke.


It took me all flippin’ night to cook it, too.  That’s the worst part, so much work for next to no payoff.

The intention was, of course, to post a recipe, but I don’t recommend anyone actually follow the recipe I ended up with.  I’m saving you much heartache.  It was not spicy enough, far too laborious, and lacked some sort of oomph.  Not to mention the rather, um, abrasive texture.

One major adjustment was made to mimic a dish I devoured recently, one that was redolent with the brilliant numbing tingle of Sichuan pepper.  I wanted to showcase the Sichuan peppercorns I ecstatically bought in response, and have been unsure of how to use ever since.

But apparently, the seeds must be painstakingly culled from the husks, as they have a (drum roll please) very gritty texture.  If anyone has helpful tips on how to use the things, I’m all ears.  Please.

Yes, I ate it, mostly out of spite.  No one else really did.

So, lessons learned:  Do not fry loads of tofu in a small apartment.  If you think it’ll be too much food, you’re probably right.  Research unfamiliar ingredients.  Trust the author.

If you have to utter the phrase, “Guys, this might actually be inedible,” just give up and order takeout.