Recipes, mostly for Szechuan (Sichuan) dishes, including

Note:
Some of these recipes call for "Szechuan red peppercorns,"
or "huajiao" ("flower pepper") in Chinese.  These give Szechuan
food its distinctive taste.  Cayenne or red chili peppers
are NOT interchangeable with Szechuan peppercorns!  Huajiao
is inexpensive and can be found in many Chinese specialty 
groceries.

DANDAN MIAN 
(Spicy Peanut Noodles)
Dandan are wooden buckets, one on each end of a pole
carried across the shoulders, from which vendors used to
sell this snack in the streets of Chengdu.
1/2 pound Chinese flat wheat noodles, or linguine
2 tablespoons tahini, or peanut butter
1 tablespoon ground Szechuan red peppercorn
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese or white vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts
Boil the noodles. Meanwhile, combine the tahini, Szechuan
pepper, garlic, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. When the
noodles are done, drain and toss them with the tahini
mixture. Sprinkle the peanuts on top before serving.
Yield: 2 servings
Heat scale: Hot

SALTY DOUHUA
(Cold Bean Curd Soup)
If you can find real douhua, use it instead of the recipe's
tofu and water mixture. But if you buy instant douhua
(sometimes labeled "soybean cheese") in a Chinese grocery,
be careful: some types contain sugar and are too sweet for
this recipe.
1/4 pound soft tofu
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon Chinese chile sauce (crushed chiles in oil)
1 teaspoon chopped Chinese pickle
1 teaspoon chopped scallions
Put the tofu and water into a blender and mix on low speed
for only 1-2 seconds -- just long enough to chop the tofu
into small pieces, but not enough to blend it into a smooth
paste. Pour it into a bowl and add the chile sauce, pickle,
and scallions.
Yield: 1 serving
Heat scale: Medium

LONG CHAO SHOU
(Sweet and spicy wontons)
1/4 pound pork, minced
3 scallions, chopped
16 wonton wrappers, trimmed into circular shape
2 tablespoons Szechuan chile oil (see directions below)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese or white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground Szechuan red peppercorn
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Mix the pork and scallions. Fold a bit of the mixture
inside each wonton wrapper, pressing the edges together to
make flat half-moon ravioli shapes. Boil the wontons in
water until they float (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, mix
the chile oil, soy sauce, vinegar, Szechuan pepper, garlic,
and sugar. Drain the wontons, and pour the oil mixture over
them.
(To make Szechuan chile oil: Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in
a saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat
and stir in 1/4 cup of whole Szechuan red peppercorns and 2
tablespoons of crushed red chile peppers. Let it sit for
about 10 minutes, then strain out the peppers.)
Yield: 16 wontons
Heat scale: Medium

MA PO TOFU
You can omit the pork for a vegetarian version.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 pound pork, minced
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Chinese chile sauce (crushed chiles in oil) or
crushed dried red chile peppers
1 tablespoon ground Szechuan red peppercorn
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Heat a wok, then heat the oil in it. Brown the pork, then
remove and reserve it. Stir-fry the scallions, garlic,
ginger, chile sauce, tofu, and reserved pork. Stir gently
to coat the tofu with the liquid, then cover and reduce
heat. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. If desired, thicken the
liquid by adding cornstarch (dissolved in a little water to
make a paste). Garnish with more ground Szechuan pepper to
taste. Serve with rice.
Yield: 2 servings
Heat scale: Hot

YUXIANG ROU SI
("Fish-fragrant" Pork Threads)
There are several dubious explanations for the name of this
dish, which contains no fish. It's said that the sauce
makes the pork taste like fish (it doesn't), or that the
sauce was used to flavor fish first and pork later, or that
it was invented in a village named Yixiang, which got
mispronounced. Whatever its origin, this sweet, sour, and
hot sauce is delicious with fish, chicken, eggplant, and
tofu as well as pork. It's often translated as "hot garlic
sauce" on restaurant menus.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound pork, cut into 1-inch-long matchsticks
1/4 pound mushrooms, or bamboo shoots, or carrots, cut into
the same size as the pork pieces
1 tablespoon Chinese chile sauce (crushed chiles in oil) or
crushed dried red chile pappers
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar, dissolved in the soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese or white vinegar
2 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Heat the wok, then heat the oil in it. Brown the pork, then
remove and reserve. Stir-fry the vegetables for 1 minute.
Add the chile sauce, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry for
another 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar,
reserved pork, and scallions. Mix, lower the heat, cover,
and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If desired, thicken the sauce
by adding cornstarch (dissolved in a litle water to make a
paste). Serve with rice.
Yield: 2 servings
Heat scale: Hot

TURFAN LAMB
Though not a native Szechuan dish, this spicy lamb is 
served in Muslim restaurants in Szechuan and elsewhere in
China. Turfan is a town in China's far-western province of
Xinjiang, where many of China's Muslims live. It rains in
Turfan only once every ten years or so, but the area is
nonetheless renowned for its grapes and melons, thanks to
an underground irrigation system.
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed dried red chile pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pound lamb stew meat, cut into thin 1-inch by 1/2-inch
slices
Combine all ingredients and marinate the lamb for several
hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the lamb
from the marinade, drain most of the liquid but let the
spices remain on the meat. Spread the lamb pieces on a
cookie sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the outside
of the meat is slightly crispy. Garnish with additional
ground coriander and
whole fennel seeds before serving if desired. Serve with
warm pita or lavash bread.
Yield: 2 servings
Heat scale: Mild


Copyright © 1995 Bruce Tindall
Go to my home page
Bruce Tindall, tindall@panix.com or sasbmt@unx.sas.com