In this variation on Kung Pao chicken, firm white-fleshed fish such as catfish or tillapia is marinated with soy sauce and white pepper, then deep fried until golden. Afterwards, it's stir-fried with classic Sichuan flavors: spicy dried chilies, mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, and garlic.
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Diana Kuan's dry-fried green beans in The Chinese Takeout Cookbook are less embellished than versions seen at Chinese restaurants; she keeps things simple by skipping the ground pork and preserved vegetable that are often included. Instead, the beans are bolstered by minced and browned fresh shiitakes and the requisite Sichuan pepper, chili bean sauce, and dried red chiles. These changes not only make the dish easier to prepare with grocery staples, but they also give the beans themselves a greater chance to shine.
Spicy dishes often come with chiles atop to prepare diners of the fire lurking within. There are no extra peppers above Fuchsia Dunlop's Cold Chicken with a Spicy Sichuanese Sauce from Every Grain of Rice, but the deep fiery red of the chilli oil should read as a warning sign to those weary of spice. But this chicken dish is not only about searing heat--the cold poached chicken, with its slippery skin and succulent meat, is beyond tender and moist; the bright spring onions and brown rice vinegar enliven the rich oil-slicked sauce; and the roasted grown Sichuan pepper is the final electrifying touch to the plate, giving the dish its signature ma la.