Foods Featured in Szechuan Cooking

One-third of the recipes that make up Szechuan cuisine are not spicy at all

La Zi Ji (Chicken with Chiles)

Suggest going out for Szechuan cuisine, and many people immediately envision platters of hot, spicy food – the kind that has you gulping down copious amounts of water all evening in an attempt to soothe your burning taste buds. People are often surprised to discover that at least of one-third of the recipes that make up Szechuan cuisine are not spicy at all. That is not to say that Szechuan’s reputation for producing “mouthburners” is undeserved. But, along with fiery classics such as “Hot and Numbing Fish” and “Kung Pao Chicken,” Szechuan is the home of “Tea Smoked Duck” – a fascinating dish made by smoking a duck over tea leaves.

Sichuan pepper
Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, the chili peppers that have made Szechuan cooking famous are a relatively recent addition. It was Christopher Columbus who brought chili peppers back with him from his travels (on behalf of the Spanish crown) in what he mistakenly took to be the Orient, and which we now know was somewhere in the Bahamas. By the time the intrepid, Genoa-born Italian explorer set foot in the New World, chili peppers were flourishing throughout South America, the Caribbean, and Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America). Most sources state Columbus named the plant himself, christening it pimentito or “pepper” out of a mistaken belief that he had discovered black pepper.

Szechuan noodles with shrimp and bok choy

It is unclear precisely how chili peppers were introduced to Szechuan, a landlocked, mountain-ringed region in western China. The most accepted view is that Indian missionaries brought chilies with them during their travels along China’s famous Silk Route – a series of pathways originally constructed during the Han dynasty for military and strategic purposes, that subsequently gained more importance as a major trade route. Another theory is that they were brought in by Chinese merchants trading with Portuguese and Spanish sailors at various seaports. In any event, today chili peppers are an indispensable feature of Chinese regional cuisine. Dried peppers are frequently used in Szechuan dishes, while cooks favor fresh peppers in the neighboring province of Hunan.

Tip – Ever hear the expression “Oil and water don’t mix”? It’s true, which is why drinking water doesn’t help combat the effects of spicy foods. Since most spices are oily, the water just rolls over the spice. Eat rice instead – it absorbs the hot chili oil. Beer or milk also help.

Szechuan Beef Macros by stevendepolo

Chili peppers, Szechuan pepper, garlic, salt, and dried and pickled ingredients such as Szechuan preserved vegetable. Beef, lamb, and pork, although the Szechuanese eat less pork than neighboring Hunan, which is famous for its ham.

Cooking methods: Szechuan cooks employ a variety of cooking methods, from stir-frying to roasting and simmering. Twice Cooked Pork, where the pork is first boiled and then stir-fried, is a classic regional dish. Ready you are Szechuan Fried Rice Please visit in the site for extra details.

Source by vmbjohn