A Taste of China: Sichuan Cuisine with Paul Young
Here are all the recipes from our recent Taste of China class with instructor Paul Young! Originating in Southwest China, Sichuan cuisine is the most popular cuisine in China. Famous for its spicy recipes, Sichuan dishes have strong flavors that are anything but subtle. In this class, we'll learn how to combine garlic, chilies, and the famous Sichuan peppercorn (also known as the "numbing spice") which is the soul of Sichuan dishes. In these recipes, you'll deconstruct the flavor principles of some popular Sichuan dishes.
The menu includes:
- Garlic Ginger Sauce
- Sichuan Mala Hot Oil
- Pig Ear in Chili Oil
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Ma Po Tofu
- Sichuan Fried Rice
Paul is a self-taught cook, educator and graphic designer with over 30 years of experience in the marketing communications industry. His favorite pastime is trying new dishes in restaurants and then attempting to recreate them at home. He's a curious foodie and an adventurous international culinary explorer who has traveled to 25 different countries (so far). He has also been a regular contributor to Smile Politely since 2007.
Makes about 3 cups
- Saute the garlic in olive oil briefly, approximately 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in all the other ingredients.
- Stir well before using.
*Note: Can be stored in the refrigerator for weeks.
Makes about 3 cups
- Finely dice the dried whole chili peppers.
- In a heat-safe bowl, combine diced chili flakes, green onions, and salt.
- In a small pan, saute the Sichuan peppercorns and star anise in oil until brown, about 3 minutes.
- Pour oil through a strainer over the ingredients in the bowl. Discard the star anise, but set aside cooked peppercorns.
- Stir everything in the bowl together and allow it to sit overnight at room temperature.
- Store in the refrigerator; stir well before using.
*Note: Toasted peppercorns can be used as an ingredient in other Sichuan dishes or used as a garnish.
- In a large pot, add the pig ears, salt, and enough water to cover the ears. Boil for about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the pig ears to a cutting board; let cool to room temperature.
- Make the dressing: in a saucepan, saute the onions in oil until soft.
- Add the green and red peppers and saute for another minute. Turn off the heat.
- Add Garlic Ginger Sauce, rice vinegar, and agave nectar. Mix thoroughly.
- Stir in Sichuan Mala Hot Oil; taste and adjust for spiciness.
- Cut cooked pig ears into small strips along the gristle. Transfer to a serving plate.
- Pour dressing on top of the pig ear strips.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds (if desired).
- Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl (make sure the sugar is dissolved).
- Add cut chicken to a gallon-size resealable plastic bag.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag, then seal the bag while pressing out excess air. Rub the marinade over the chicken. Let rest in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove chicken from the marinade just before cooking; reserve the marinade in a separate bowl.
- In a wok, dry roast the peanuts for about 3 minutes (if needed). Set aside.
- Saute chili pepper pods in 2 tablespoons of oil for about 1 minute. Remove the pods and set aside.
- Add the onions and saute for about 3 minutes, or until soft.
- Add the chicken and stir fry for about 5 minutes, or until done. Set aside the chicken and onions.
- Add another 2 tablespoons of oil, then bring the wok temperature back up.
- Add green peppers, red peppers, and the white parts of the green onions and stir fry until hot.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved marinade. Stir in the fermented soybean sauce and mix well until dissolved.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, then slowly stir in cornstarch slurry until the sauce thickens to your liking (you do not have to use the entire 1/2 cup of cornstarch slurry).
- Adjust seasonings: add soy sauce to increase saltiness, drizzle in more Mala Hot Oil for heat, and stir in the Kitchen Bouquet for color (if desired).
- Garnish with peanuts, the green parts of the green onions, a few toasted red chili pods, and a few toasted Sichuan peppercorns (if desired).
- In a wok, saute the ground pork until done. Season with salt.
- Add the white parts of the green onions and saute until soft.
- Add Garlic Ginger Sauce and fermented soybean sauce and mix well.
- Stir in Sichuan Mala Hot Oil. Taste and adjust for spiciness.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, then slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce thickens to your liking (you do not have to use the entire 1/2 cup of cornstarch slurry).
- Adjust seasoning: add soy sauce to increase saltiness, drizzle in more Mala Hot oil for heat, and stir in the Kitchen Bouquet for color (if desired).
- Carefully stir in tofu cubes (try not to break the cubes).
- Garnish with the green parts of the green onions and a few toasted Sichuan peppercorns (if desired).
- Combine rice, water, and salt. Cook in a rice cooker per the manufacturer's instructions.
- Saute the white parts of the green onion in a wok for about 3 minutes.
- Add Chinese Five Spices, ham, and veggies and stir fry until soft.
- Stir in spicy chili crisp and Garlic Ginger Sauce. Bring the temperature back up.
- Turn off the heat, then add rice and mix gently.
- Adjust the seasoning (if needed).
- Garnish with the remaining green onions.