Sichuan food can be mild or spicy or explosively hot.
The ultimate dish in Sichuan cooking is the Mala numbing hot pots or fire pots. And it's gonna have you sweating. And this is my version, and you can turn it down, you know, have it as spicy or not as spicy as you want. And it's like basically making a very fiery broth.
In goes the dried chilli, Sichuan peppercorn.
This is gonna literally blow your head off. And I think my version is actually quite light, compared to the real authentic version in Sichuan. It's delicious, it's addictive, it gives you this numbing sensation on the tongue.
That's just chili bean sauce, chili sauce, and then add in with lots of stock. And you can see it already. It's got that sort of bloodred color, which is what we want.
Now to flavor this broth even more, I'm going to add some dried tangerine peel, which is ju zi pi in Mandarin. And it's just going to give that wei xin, that aroma, that flavor, that such a thick aroma.
But don't worry. If you don't have this at home, you can always use the zest of an orange, and just throw that in, or even just slice up some orange peel. Just put that in. So just a generous handful of this.
And next, a couple of star anise. This is going to impart the anisyl aroma. And then a handful of Chinese mushrooms. Now these are really woody and earthy and fragrant. And these are used to create the most gorgeous stocks we use in Chinese cooking.
Some ginger. I'm going to slice that. This adds a different element of heat to it. Some chilies.
And some spring onion.
So all I want to do is cook this now on a gentle heat. Let it simmer. Taking all those flavors, you let the ingredients work their magic for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Once that's simmered, I'm just going to add some chili oil. But not a splash or two. The whole bottle!
Great! I feel like a witch, standing over my caldron. Lovely!
Next I'm going to add in fried tofu, fresh tofu, and some Chinese leaves and just soak up all those flavors. So this is like a massive fiery fondu.
It looks so good. I've got to taste some of it now. Really good! Blow-your-socks-off good.
This is the definitive Sichuan meal: a fabulously fiery fondu. You can eat the vegetables floating in the broth. And it's perfect for dipping tofu, seafood, meats and other vegetables.