'Sichuan' on Serious Eats

Bang Bang Chicken, Hold the Bangin': The Modern Way to Make Sichuan Chicken Salad

True bang bang ji si gets its name from the sound that a mallet makes when beating the tough chicken breasts of yesteryear into tender submission before dressing them in a sauce flavored with Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, sesame seed, Chinkiang vinegar, and roasted chili oil. But with today's tender chickens, the actually banging part of bang bang chicken is nothing more than a relic of the past. Let's bring this dish into the modern age, shall we? More

Hot and Numbing Sichuan Chicken Salad (Bang Bang Ji Si)

Whether you call it Bang Bang Chicken (named after the sound that a pounding mallet makes when tenderizing the tough chicken breasts of yesteryear) or Mysterious Flavor Chicken, this classic cold Sichuan chicken salad dressed with Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, sesame, and chili oil, can be updated using a few modern techniques. Cooking the chicken breasts directly in a bag with aromatics guarantees ultra-moist and flavor-packed chicken without the need for any banging at all. More

20 Great Ways to Use Sichuan Peppercorns

The warm spice and citrusy aroma of Sichuan peppercorns can be totally addictive. The dark berry-hued peppercorns produce a tingly numbing sensation that wakes up your tongue; combined with fiery chilies, it's an effect known as ma la, or "numbing heat." From classics like dry-fried green beans and mapo tofu to amped-up chicken wings and burgers, we've got 20 great ways to make the most of the unique spice. More

Asparagus Ain't Sichuan, but Boy Does it Work in This Fiery Salad

Asparagus isn't exactly a Chinese ingredient, but that doesn't mean that it can't find a comfortable home in Chinese food. I've got no doubt that if asparagus were to grow in the cool, misty mountains near Chengdu, that we'd see it served as a cold green appetizer or side dish on menus in Sichuan. This recipe—cold and crunchy asparagus tossed with firm tofu in a fiery sweet-hot-sour vinaigrette—is really inspired by the host of cold or warm appetizers you find in Sichuan that make use of roasted chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns, and vinegar. More

How to Make Sichuan-Style Wontons in Chili Oil

Sweet and savory. Slippery and slick. Juicy and tender. Hot and sour. Garlicky. So. Freaking. Good. These are all words that should enter your head as you slide back a bowl of suanla chaoshou, the Sichuan-style wontons that come coated in an intensely aromatic sauce made with vinegar, garlic, and roasted chili oil. It's the sauce that brings on the contrasts with its almost overly intense flavor, thanks to sweet Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, and plenty of chili oil with crunchy bits of fried dried chilies. More

Sichuan-Style Braised Eggplant With Pickled Chilies and Garlic (Yu Xiang Qie Zi)

Despite its translation—"fish fragrant eggplant,"—yu xiang qie zi actually contains no seafood or meat products whatsoever. It gets its name from the combination of hot, sour, and sweet flavors that are typically served with fish in its native Sichuan. Smoky eggplant is stir-fried until tender, then tossed with a quick sauce flavored with chilies, black vinegar, sugar, and ginger, and garlic for a hearty, flavor-packed dish that comes together in one wok with minimal effort. More

14 Essential Sichuan Eats (Beyond Hot Pot) in Chengdu and Chongqing

Though Chongqing Province and the city of Chongqing itself are no longer part of Sichuan Province (they split in the '90s), they share a culinary and cultural backbone. It's a foundation built on the slow, smoldering burn of dried chilies, the pungent bite of raw garlic, and mouth-numbing handfuls of citrus-scented Sichuan peppercorns, all balanced with dashes of black vinegar and more peanuts than you ever thought you could eat. More

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