Spring this year in the Triangle has really stretched its legs and asserted itself as a full season with plenty of cool evenings and moderate humidity I’ve been finding myself reaching back for a few more recipes I generally reserve for fall or winter.
Last night I took a simple Sichuan Chinese dish and made it my own with what’s in the fridge. I used broccolini but you could use broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini or whatever happens to be cluttering up your fridge.
This dish is spicy but feel free to use more or less of the peppers or omit them entirely. Most of the flavor will come from one somewhat specialized ingredient called Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste which has a deep umami flavor with some spice and most of the salt this dish will require. You can find Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste at most any Asian grocery though it may be called Sichuan chili bean paste, Pixian Bean Paste, Boad Bean Paste or a few others, they are all the same thing.
I also highly recommend a wok for this recipe, if you don’t have one, you can get by with big pot but it’s not ideal.
Sichuan Dry-Fried Chicken with Veggies
2 tbsp cooking oil I prefer peanut oil for high heat wok cooking
1.5lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into ½” cubes
1 bunch scallions, whites only sliced on a bias about ¼” thick
10 dried chilies shake out and discard seeds
1 bunch broccoli cut into bite sized pieces or about 2-3 cups any veggie you choose
2 Jalapenos seeded and sliced on a bias
6 cloves garlic chopped fine
An equivalent amount of ginger pealed & chopped fine
10 Sichuan peppercorns ground fine
3tbsp Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Chilie Paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp white sugar
Salt to taste
Heat your wok with 1tbsp of the oil till nearly smoking and add the chicken in as flat a layer as possible. Leave undisturbed until the chicken has browned. Flip and repeat till chicken is cooked through and browned on several sides. Remove with a slotted spoon leaving any liquid in the wok.
Add the remaining tbsp of oil and the scallions, dried chilies, veggies, and jalapenos cooking over high heat till you see black spots appear. Then add the garlic and ginger tossing quickly for 30 seconds or until nice and fragrant.
Add the ground Sichuan pepper tossing to incorporate for another 30 seconds before adding the remaining ingredients until evenly coated, taste and season with salt if you desire.
Remove from heat and serve over rice or by itself.