Sichuan cuisine (/swn/ or /stwn/), also known as Szechwan cuisine, or Szechuan cuisine (/swn/ or /stwn/), is a Chinese food type that originated in Sichuan Province. We’ll use the most up-to-date spelling: Sichuan
Sichuan cuisine is the most popular in China, whilst Cantonese cuisine is the most popular in the United States. As previously said, it comes from China’s southwestern area and is famed for its deep and rich tastes, particularly the taste of Sichuan pepper. To put it another way, it’s spicy, which is uncommon in China’s other regional cuisines.
Sichuan food, on the other hand, is not only spicy but also hot.
The variety of Sichuan culinary philosophy is perhaps one of its most impressive features. Most traditional Sichuan meals, both in taste and cooking procedure, would be drastically different if you named a bunch of them. ‘One dish with one taste, one hundred dishes with one hundred flavors,’ says a saying (which brilliance sadly does not transfer well to English, yet its message is felt).
Sichuan cuisine is recognized for its fiery and spicy characteristics, yet it may also include sweet and sour notes.
Also known as “The Five Fragrances,” the Sichuan palate recognizes a number of essential tastes.
These are the five:
- Seed of anise
- Cloves with cinnamon
- Chili and Sichuan pepper
Sichuan cuisine requires Sichuan pepper, black pepper, chile, broad bean chilli paste, shallots, ginger, and garlic in addition to the Five Fragrances.
These are essential spices for bringing out the rich tastes of the food. You can’t eat spicy meals without them. In cajun cookery, they’re like the Trinity.
Balancing the Five Fragrances with traditional spices (particularly the lip-numbing Sichuan Pepper) is the heart and soul of Sichuan cuisine, and helps to generate a wide range of tastes and meals, as indicated.
Methods of Preparation
Sichuan cuisine encourages a quick and frantic approach to cooking. There isn’t much fermentation, chemical cooking methods like Ceviche, or multistep procedures like cheese production or the like in this culture. Sichuan chefs, on the other hand, prefer quick cooking methods like as stir-frying, steaming, braising, and baking.
Fast-frying is the most popular method.
Finally, the Sichuan chef is frequently judged on how well he or she prepares the most famous traditional Sichuan meals.
Here’s a list of some of the spiciest traditional dishes.
1. Bean Curd ‘Pockmarked Granny’ (Mapo Tofu)
Mapo (/maa-por/) tofu is bean curd seasoned with water chestnuts, onions, other vegetables, or wood ear fungus and served in a chili-and-bean-based sauce — generally a thin, greasy, and brilliant red suspension — and commonly topped with minced meat.
The flavor of mapo tofu has been characterized as ‘numbing,’ to put it mildly. By tradition, it’s very hot, fresh, tender, and soft, fragrant, and flaky.
Although mapo tofu is not unique to Sichuan, this dish is. It’s also one of the Chinese diaspora’s most popular meals.
2. Chicken Diced in a Spicy Sauce (Kung Pao Chicken)
Its Cantonese name is Kung Pao Chicken, and its Mandarin name is Gongbao Jiding (/gong-baow jee-ding/ ‘Palace-Protected Chicken Cubes’). It is, however, Sichuan in origin.
Diced chicken and dried red pepper are fried with golden peanuts in this meal. The spicy diced chicken is more popular in Western countries than the mapo tofu.
Like Cajun or Thai spice connoisseurs, Sichuan cooks boast that their dish is the more popular of the two since it is normally served less spicy, if at all when served outside of Sichuan province—despite the fact that it is fiery, lip-numbing spice and all.
3. ‘Husband and Wife Lung Slices’ (Fuqi Fei Pian)
Guo Zhaohua’s Fuqi Fei Pian consists of thinly sliced beef (or bovine lung or tongue) seasoned with chile oil.
This iconic Sichuan dish has a story to tell, but one that is considerably less gruesome than the name indicates.
Zhaohua and his wife made a career selling vinegar-flavored beef slices from a street cart. Because their beef slices were fragrant and delectable, they quickly became one of the city’s most popular foods. Patrons named the dish Husband and Wife Lung Slices in honor of the pair.
4. Hot Pot in Sichuan
Sichuan hotpot, like the majority of the food in this humid and densely populated region, is extremely spicy. Chili peppers and other strong-tasting herbs and spices are used to flavor the soup.
Hot pepper, Chinese crystal sugar, and wine are the major components. The common meats used in the meal are kidney slices, chicken breast, beef tripe, goose intestines, spring onion, soybean sprouts, mushrooms, duck, and sea cucumber.
5. Mian Dandan (Dandan Noodles)
Dandan noodles are another traditional Sichuan cuisine that has gained international acclaim and may be found in a variety of forms.
Dandan noodles in Sichuan province are a fusion of tastes – savoury, nutty, spicy, and smokey — in contrast to the normally watered-down versions outside of Sichuan. The noodles are served with veggies, Sichuan pepper, and minced pork on top, soaked in chili oil.
6. Sijidou Ganbian (Dry Stir-Fried Green Beans)
A common misperception about this meal is that it is greasy and heavy. Stir-fried green beans, on the other hand, are expected to be light and snappy when done properly in the Sichuan region. The beans, also known as snap beans or string beans, are made using the “dry-frying” technique, which requires less oil and a longer frying time. This causes the beans to dry, resulting in a crispy outer layer.
After that, the beans are thoroughly mixed with chili-flavored oil, Sichuan pepper, scallions, garlic, and ginger.
Sichuan cuisine is quite simple to grasp and identify. Strong tastes that are usually rather spicy. The scents (or five perfumes) and the usage of pepper that physically numbs your lips and mouth are all part of the eating experience.
In our next chapter, we’ll look at what is considered to be the most sophisticated and creative of China’s Great Cuisines. Cuisine from Jiangsu
scài (Chinese) scài (Chinese) scài
- Fresh ingredients, mildly salty and sweet flavors, precise cooking skills, a preference for seafood, soups, and creative, colorful presentation
Jiangsu Province and Shanghai, China’s largest metropolis, feature a sophisticated gourmet cuisine that is frequently served at official banquets.