Posts Tagged ‘sichuan’

h1

yet another chili oil (la jiao jiang)

May 13, 2020

Chili oil is one of my favorite foods! My two favorite chili oil recipes are this caramelized onion la jiao jiang – sweet and hot – and this dandanmian chili oil, which is complex and flavorful. Both are very highly recommended.

I can easily eat an entire batch in no time – dipping dumplings, drowning noodles in it, drizzled over congee or grits, on fish, and even making no-mayo chicken salad with a Chinese black vinegar and chili oil vinaigrette.

I wanted to try something new, so I tried China Sichuan Food’s la jiao jiang‘s recipe!

+

7 tablespoons red pepper flakes (can toast in skillet before crushing)
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
1 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup more for adjusting

spices:
1 thumb ginger
2 bay leaves
3 star anise
1 bark Chinese cinnamon
3 scallion whites
1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
4 cloves
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 Amomum tsao-ko ,Cao Guo
3 amomum kravanh ,White Dou Kou

Instructions

Heat the spices in oil over the slowest fire for around 5 minutes until the scallion white becomes slightly brown and you can smell the strong aroma. Filter all the spices out and leave the oil in the pot.
Place around 5 tablespoons of red pepper powder in a bowl.
Re-heat the oil in the pot until slightly smoky and then pour half of the hot oil over the red pepper powder. Rest the left oil for 5 minutes.
Add another 2 tablespoons of red pepper powder, 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seed and 1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn in the bowl. Add the leftover oil.

+

So, here’s my issue. Heating spices in oil on the LOWEST heat for only five minutes resulted in very little of the spice flavor absorbing into the oil! I definitely recommend the method from the dan dan noodles chili oil, which first requires the oil to get up to temperature (on medium-low, not low heat) before adding the spices.

Next time, I will combine these recipes – using the extra spices like cumin, fennel, clove, and bay, but using the dandan chili oil method.

Of course, this chili oil is good – All Chili Oil is Beautiful – but my next plan is to combine all these chili oils into one perfect recipe. Complex from the Chinese five spice kick, super numbing (this chili oil calls for only 1/4t. Sichuan peppercorns, when this one calls for TWO TABLESPOONS,) and highly potent.

Stay tuned for the ultimate chili oil recipe – I’ll develop a recipe once I run out of this huge batch!

h1

sichuan blistered green beans

October 22, 2019

Dry-frying is a seriously under-utilized technique! Beyond the obvious health benefits of using little to no oil, dry-frying veggies lends an amazing texture, almost like they have been grilled. They’re blistered and blackened in spots on the surface, but stay crisp in the middle. This method of cooking is so fast that the veggies maintain lots of nutrients. Super healthy, but WAY tastier than anything that seems like it could be healthy.

Remember my post about blistered asparagus? Similar idea, but we’re doing the green beans in a wok or skillet instead of baking.

In the summer, I make mine without pork. Why? I mean, I love pork, and lots of Sichuan recipes like mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) just don’t taste right without the pork. However, summer green beans from my local farmers market have such an incredible flavor. It’s really not necessary to add any meat! I also made it without the sui mi ya cai (pickled greens) because I am trying to watch my sodium. So I’ll post two recipes here – the original, by Maggie Zhu of Omnivore’s Cookbook, which is authentic. My version is lower in salt, lower in cholesterol and fats, and something you could eat every week! (or, at least, I could…)

Probably my favorite green bean recipe!

+

RECIPE #1 – adapted by me
Sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
pinch of sugar

Stir fry
tiny splash of veggie oil, just enough that the beans don’t stick to the skillet
1 pound (450 grams) green beans, tough ends removed
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1. Heat wok or skillet on med-high to high heat with splash of oil until wok is rippin’ hot.
2. Throw in green beans. Keep them moving, stirring every thirty seconds. Turn down heat if wok produces too much smoke.
3. Remove green beans when they look nice and blistered. Add another splash of oil and turn down heat to medium.
4. Add Sichuan peppercorns to oil. Remove peppercorns when they turn brown.
5. Add chilis, ginger, and garlic. Keep stirring til your kitchen smells great (maybe 1 minute).
6. Add green beans back to chili-ginger-garlic oil in wok. Stir to coat and turn off heat.

+

RECIPE #2 the original, by Maggie Zhu of Omnivore’s Cookbook

Sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (note: this is, for real, a lot)

Stir fry
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound (450 grams) green beans
1/2 pound (220 grams) ground pork
3 tablespoons minced Sichuan pickled mustard greens (Sui Mi Ya Cai)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
1 teaspoon ginger , minced

1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Dry the green beans thoroughly before cooking to prevent oil splatter.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the green beans and stir to coat well with oil. Spread the beans to prevent them from overlapping, as much as possible. Flip every 15 seconds or so. Cook and stir until the surface is mostly brown and withered, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn to medium heat if the pan starts to smoke too much. Remove the pan from the stove. Transfer the green beans to a plate and set aside. (*Footnote 4)
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the peppercorns turn dark. Scoop out and save for later. (*Footnote 5)
4. Add the ground pork, Sichuan pickled mustard greens, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and chop the pork to separate it into small pieces. When the surface of the pork turns golden, add the dried chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir a few seconds to release the fragrance. Add back the green beans and pour the sauce over them. Cook and stir until the sauce is mostly absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the stove and taste a green bean. If it’s not salty enough, add a pinch more salt, return the pan to the stove, and stir to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate.
6. Serve hot on top of rice as a main, or as a side.

+

If you like your green beans texturally interesting and incredibly flavorful, you have to try this recipe! If you prefer them stewed, can I recommend fasolakia, green beans stewed in oniony tomato sauce? If you like them sour, nothing is better than some lacto-fermented green beans. & if you like your green beans way sweeter, try this Americanized version of Sichuan green beans with hoisin.

h1

liangban tofu (chilled soft tofu salad)

July 31, 2019

ten minutes til a quick snack full of protein, all nine essential amino acids, iron, calcium, magnesium, and more…

one block soft tofu
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon black vinegar
2 fresh Thai peppers (you can replace it with chili oil)
1/2 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 green onion, finely chopped
minced cilantro, to taste
toasted Sichuan peppercorns, to taste

1. cube tofu and steam for ten minutes
2. separately, mix together all other ingredients
3. dump ingredients on top of tofu and refrigerate

+

adapted from china sichuan food and tim elwyn

+

my favorite tofu is definitely mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) and my favorite junk food tofu is crispy vegan kung pao tofu

…but what if you don’t have an hour to press and fry tofu? what if you like mapo tofu but you don’t eat pork?

THIS is my new go-to quick tofu recipe for lazy vegans. it’s a great summer recipe, too, since you don’t have to kick your wok up to high heat.

i wasn’t completely smitten with it when i first tasted it, but once the tofu sucked up the sauce, i had no trouble eating an entire brick of tofu myself.

if you don’t care for wild splattering oil, if you’re on a diet, if you’re not into pork, if you’re in a rush, or on a soft food diet after surgery or dental problems, or if you’re just too lazy to cook, i definitely recommend this!

h1

sichuan cucumber salad

April 9, 2019

perfect fresh, sour, crunchy foil to anything heavy. equally amazing served as a side with a rich pork meal (like dandanmian) – a crunchy topper for your salad – or just a mid-day snack.

smash or slice cucumbers into your favorite shape and size

top with any combination of the following:

– splash of sesame oil and/or hot chili oil (make your own with dry chilis and canola/veg oil, or use leftover dandanmian oil – easy substitution would be canola oil with a pinch of cayenne or hot sauce)
– splash of tamari or soy sauce
– pinch of sugar
– pinch of salt
– toasted Sichuan peppercorns
– splash of black vinegar (if you don’t have chinkiang vinegar, rice wine vinegar or apple cider will do)

if you want to get wild, add:
– pinch of toasted sesame seeds
– pinch of minced ginger and/or garlic

+

adapted by friedsig from lots of sources, especially richard hsiao’s pickled cukes, but also China Sichuan food, appetite for China, and omnivore’s kitchen

+

absolutely fantastic. perfect summery recipe. dare you not to eat the whole thing! it’s really more of a quick pickle than a salad, so let flavors absorb for at least an hour before eating (if you can resist the urge to eat it all immediately)

without question my best cucumber salad recipe besides fattoush and a plain-yogurt-and-dill thing i make in high summer. try this!!!

h1

dan dan noodles (dandanmian)

December 10, 2016

i can’t stop eating these noodles because they taste so good.

but, i can’t stop crying.

they’re so, so spicy.

did you ever make something that tasted so good despite it being too spicy, but you were determined to power through it, and you ended up with tears streaming down your face?

this chili oil is great – a nice change of pace from la jiao jiang with sichuan flavors like star anise and cinnamon.

sichuan dishes heavy on the peppercorns are known as “numbing” – and this one is ~definitely~ numbing. as in, my mouth is completely numb and tingly… and i keep going back for more.

+

i modified this recipe from woks of life. one of the main and most important parts of dan dan noodles are the pickled chinese mustard greens. it’s not really dan dan noodles without sui mi ya cai. so, maybe i should call this something different, because i didn’t use any. don’t fear if you can’t get them – these noodles are amazing even without them. next time i’ll get some bok choy to get some more vegetables in there, and to help cool the fire. and a larger bottle of antacids.

+

MAKE THE CHILI OIL
2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
1 inch-long piece of Chinese cinnamon (gui-pi) [i used whatever cinnamon i have]
2 star anise
1 cup oil
1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes

In a small pot, add the Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon stick, star anise, and oil. Over medium low heat, slowly heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and then turn off the heat. Wait 6-7 minutes, then remove the peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and star anise with a slotted spoon.
Add the crushed red pepper flakes and allow them to steep in the hot oil. It should start smelling fragrant, almost like popcorn. Allow the oil to cool. This makes more chili oil than you’ll need, but you’ll be glad to have it on hand for use in other dishes. Store in a glass jar and keep refrigerated.

MAKE THE MEAT
3 teaspoons oil
8 oz. ground pork
2 teaspoons sweet bean sauce or hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons shaoxing wine (or cooking sherry)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1/3 cup sui mi ya cai [update 4/2018: if you don’t have access to these greens, you can use mustard greens marinated in a bit of apple cider vinegar or pickle brine. it’s great!]

In a wok, heat a teaspoon of oil over medium heat, and brown the ground pork. Cook til partially crispy.

Add the sweet bean sauce, shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, and five spice powder. Cook until all the liquid is evaporated. Set aside. Heat the other 2 teaspoons of oil in the wok over medium heat, and sautee the pickled greens for a few minutes. Set aside.

MAKE THE SAUCE
2 tablespoons sesame paste (tahini)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
1/2 cup of your prepared chili oil [HEY PLEASE DON’T USE A HALF-CUP UNLESS YOU LIKE THINGS VERY, VERY HOT, MAYBE USE LESS THAN HALF, SERIOUSLY THIS CHILI OIL CAME OUT SO, SO HOT]
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
¼ cup hot cooking water from the noodles

Mix together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if you like.

PUT IT TOGETHER
cook about a pound of cu mian (Shanghai-style noodle,) fresh soft medium-thickness white noodles from an Asian marketplace, or udon noodles. Don’t forget the cooking water for the sauce! Steam bok choy or whatever other greens you have. Grab your bowl and add sauce to the bottom, then noodles, then greens and pork. Top with scallions, and peanuts that you fried up in some oil.

+

modified from the woks of life

+

tastes like something magical, just as it sounds – sweet, very hot, lots of textures – just what street food should be! the crispy pork and chili oil are just magical together. definitely a part of my rotation.

h1

crispy vegan kung pao tofu

January 22, 2015

This hit the spot. It tastes like something from an Americanized Chinese restaurant – sweet, crunchy, salty, and satisfying. I definitely recommend this one. If you can get past frying the tofu, the sauce takes three minutes to cook up, and your house will smell great.

+

vegetable or peanut oil for frying or baking
1/8 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Kosher salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, pressed with something heavy to release moisture, and ideally patted dry to avoid the oil spitting
1/4 cup water or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sichuan broad bean chili paste (I used miso and chili-garlic paste)
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
3 scallions, whites finely minced, and greens finely sliced, reserved separately
3 cloves minced garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sichuan peppercorns, divided
12 hot Chinese dry chili peppers (I used 6)
2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1/2 cup total) (I left these out and it was still great)
2 ribs celery, split in half lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 long green Chinese hot pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into 3/4-inch squares (I omitted this)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
Cooked white rice, for serving
Procedures

1
Heat oil in a wok to 350°F. (You can also bake the tofu if you prefer! If baking it, move to step 3.) Whisk together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Add water and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint and fall off of the whisk in thin ribbons that instantly disappear as they hit the surface of the batter in the bowl.

2
Add tofu and carefully turn to coat. Working one at a time, lift one piece and allow excess batter to drip off. Carefully lower into hot oil. Repeat with remaining tofu until wok is full. Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and agitate pieces as they cook until evenly pale golden and crisp all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all tofu is fried. Carefully pour oil out of wok.

3
Combine stock, soy sauce, bean paste, vinegar, sugar, and remaining 2 teaspoons corn starch in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine scallion whites, garlic, and ginger in a second small bowl. Set aside. Coarsely grind half of peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

4
Set a fine mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl or saucepan. Return 1/4 cup oil to wok and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining half of peppercorns and chilies and cook, stirring, for 5 seconds. Immediately drain through fine mesh strainer. Pick out chilies and set aside. Discard cooked peppercorns

5
Return infused oil to the wok and heat over high heat until lightly smoking. Add leeks, celery, and long pepper and cook, stirring and tossing, until vegetables are lightly charred and tender-crisp, about 1 1/2 minutes. Clear a space in the center of the wok and add the scallion/ginger/garlic mixture. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peanuts, dried chilies, and drained tofu. Stir sauce mixture and add to wok. Cook, tossing and folding ingredients together until tofu is fully coated. Add scallion greens and ground peppercorns and toss to combine. Serve immediately with white rice.

+

adapted from serious eats

h1

Hong You Chao Shou (sichuan pork wontons)

February 27, 2014

After I made la jiao jiang hot pepper oil, I started putting the caramelized onions on everything from bleu cheese potatoes to pizza. I wondered, though – what do people in the Sichuan province put their chili oil on?

Found this recipe on red shallot kitchen. It was my first time working with wonton wrappers. They are quite easy to use. I bet these would be fantastic vegan or vegetarian – stewed cabbage, spiced tofu, or anything could go inside these slippery dumplings.

+

1 1/2 pounds ground pork (with about 20% fat. Do not use lean pork)
1 egg
1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
8 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional)
Salt and white pepper
40 wonton wrappers (3 1/2-inch or 4-inch square)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup Sichuan chili oil (Hong You)
4 tablespoons chinese black rice vinegar (also called Chinkiang/Zenjiang vinegar)
2 scallions, chopped

In a large bowl, mix pork, egg, ginger, half of minced garlic, rice wine, sesame oil, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper until well blended. Lay out one wonton wrapper on a plate, place one heaping teaspoon of pork filling in the center of the wrapper. Brush the edges with water, fold the wrapper diagonally so it forms a triangle. Take 2 opposite corner and overlap each other, using a little bit of water to help them adhere. Place wonton on a lightly floured cookie sheet, repeat the process with the remaining wrappers and pork filling.
In a mixing bowl, combine chili oil, soy sauce, black vinegar, and the remaining of minced garlic. Set aside.
Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Working in batch, boil wontons for about 5 minutes, or until the wontons are cooked through and start floating to the surface. Transfer wontons to a large strainer to drain. Add wontons to chili sauce and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with chopped onion and serve immediately.

+

from the red shallot kitchen.

+

Recommended! I think they’re worth the effort – they’re so beautiful and tasty!