7 oz. smoked bacon slices, thickly cut, rinds discarded if necessary
7 oz. smoked bean curd
1/2 cup winter-sacrifice beans (SUBSTITUTION NOTE: 2-3 tablespoons black fermented beans and a spoonful or two of chili oil with sediment)
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon peanut oil or lard
fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley to garnish (optional)
Place the bacon in a steamer and steam over a high heat for 5-10 minutes, until cooked. Cut each slice into about 3 pieces. Cut the bean curd into thickish slices to complement the bacon.
Lay alternate slices of bacon and bean curd into the bottom and up the side of an earthenware or china bowl. Place any remaining slices on top. Spoon the beans, the chili flakes, and the oil or lard over. (You can prepare up to this stage in advance).
Place the bowl in a steamer and steam for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour, until the flavors have blended.
You can simply serve the dish in a steaming bowl, and just give everything a good stir with chopsticks before digging in. For greater elegance, however, cover the bowl with a serving dish, swiftly invert, and then serve it unmolded with a garnish of fresh coriander or parsley.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province by Fuchsia Dunlop. Page 93. W.W. Norton & Company, 2006