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Recipes, mostly for Sichuan, including


Dandan mian (spicy peanut noodles)
Salty douhua (cold bean curd soup)
Long chao shou (sweet-spicy wontons)
Ma Po Tofu
Yuxiang rou si ("Fish-fragrant" pork threads)
Turfan lamb


Note:


Some of these recipes call for 'Sichuan red peppercorns', or 'huajiao' in Chinese.  These give Sichuan food its distinctive taste.  Cayenne or red chili peppers are NOT interchangeable with Sichuan 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


Cayenne ~
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 chili oil, soy sauce, vinegar, Sichuan pepper, garlic, and sugar. Drain the wontons, and pour the oil mixture over them.(To make Sichuan chili 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 Sichuan 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 chili 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 Sichuan dish, this spicy lamb is served in Muslim restaurants in Sichuan 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

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