Very Crispy Tongue with Chili Bean Paste and Sichuan Peppercorns Recipe

Sichuan-style crispy tongue.


Serious Eats / Chichi Wang

Why It Works

  • The tongue is simmered for a few hours until tender, then pan-fried until brown and crisp to give it some texture.
  • It's stir-fried Sichuan-style with chiles, scallions, Sichuan peppercorns, and chile bean paste.

May 2012

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 4 hrs
Serves: 4 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1 1/2 pounds beef, veal, or pork tongue (about 1 beef tongue or 2 to 3 pork tongues)

  • 2 quarts water or low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

  • 8 to 12 dried Chinese red chiles

  • 3 scallions cut into 1-inch segments

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole Sichuan peppercorns

  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan chile bean paste

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine, sherry, or dry vermouth

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, chile oil, or a combination of both


  1. Place the tongue(s) in a pot and cover with water or stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until tender, about three hours, adding extra liquid as needed. Let the tongue cool, then remove the tongue from the stock and set the stock aside for another use.

  2. When tongue is cool enough to handle, peel the outer membrane off the tongue and discard. Cut the tongue into slices slightly thicker than 1/4-inch.

  3. Add a 1/4 cup oil to the skillet and place over medium heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add the slices of tongue and cook until brown and crisp on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side, another 3 minutes. (Reduce heat if tongue or oil is smoking excessively). As slices of tongue brown, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

  4. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a wok set over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the chiles, scallions, and Sichuan peppercorns, and stir-fry until aromatic, 20 to 30 seconds.

  5. Add the slices of tongue to the wok. Add the chile bean paste and stir-fry vigorously to coat the tongue, about 20 seconds longer. Add the rice wine and soy sauce. Add salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon. Keep stirring the tongue around in the wok to evenly distribute the seasonings. Remove from the heat, stir in the oil(s), and serve immediately.

Special Equipment

Stainless steel skillet, wok


To learn more about Chinese pantry ingredients, check out our article here.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
561 Calories
45g Fat
6g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 561
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 45g 57%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 186mg 62%
Sodium 1038mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 9mg 44%
Calcium 64mg 5%
Iron 7mg 41%
Potassium 482mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)