What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Sichuan’? You think of spicy foods and hot pot. Well, that’s an apt visualization, but we have more to share.
China is a land of diverse cuisines, and out of a variety of cuisines coming out of the mandarin land, ‘Sichuan’ (or ‘Szechuan,’ as it is known in the west) is arguably the most popular one. When people think of Szechuan cuisine, they immediately picture a hot, spicy platter filled with rice, noodles and crispies served in red-brown gravy. But that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In truth, there is so much to Szechuan cooking that one could spend a lifetime gulping its delicacies and still not run out of the menu.
So, while you are drooling, we are thinking about Kung Pao Chicken and Tea Smoked Duck.
What is it that the chefs do to pack in the wonderful flavors?
Szechuan cuisine has certain techniques that enhance the color, aroma, and taste and uplift the overall experience. Some of the prominent Szechuan cooking techniques are listed in this article.
A Quick Peek Into Szechuan Cooking Techniques
Boiling or Shuizhu is a technique that the Chinese prefer to treat their beef and pork with and the rest of the ingredients. Boiling gives a beautiful color and aroma to the end dish and eliminates the inherent taste of beef and pork as if you’re adding hot sauce.
2. Stir Fry
By far the most common Szechuan cooking technique, Stir-frying is used to control the amount of oil in the food. In this technique, oil is only used to color the wok. This technique involves the usage of high and quick tossing and turning of the food in the vessel.
3. Deep Fry
This technique is similar to Stir fry, except that here, the oil used is much more. The end-result is a crispy protein or vegetables. It tastes delicious with different Sichuan sauces.
This technique utilizes water in place of oil. The wok is kept in water inside a closed container, and then the container is heated. The steam thus produced cooks the ingredients. It makes the food healthy, light and keeps the original flavor of the ingredients intact.
Sautéing is a variation of stir fry in which the heat is kept slightly lower, and hence there is no need to toss and turn the ingredients. Dumplings are usually prepared by sautéing.
Simmering is a heating water technique at a low temperature so that it keeps rolling but doesn’t boil off. Such a technique is used prominently in soups and soup accompaniments.
7. Flavor Potting
Flavor potting include stewing the ingredients in heavily flavored sauces and seasoning. Some common types of seasoning used are soya sauce, fermented rice mesh, ginger, scallions, and rice wine.
In the Szechuan technique of roasting, the wok is roasted over charcoal and can absorb its flavor and fragrance from the vapors. It is a commonly used Szechuan technique to cook bacon.
9. Pickling or Marinating
Pickling is a technique in which vegetables are marinated in vinegar, sugar, salt, and a jar full of water. These mostly act as side dishes to the main course. They add a different kind of taste to the food.
10. Cold Mixing
This is the most basic cooking technique, in which the spices, seasoning, and sauces are simply mixed with the wok and presented cold to eat. This technique is mostly used in summers. Some ingredients may, however, need to be parboiled before cold mixing.
You can easily buy Sichuan chili crisps and sauces from the market to prepare Sichuan dishes. Now, make sure you read the reviews before purchasing anything.
Szechuan cuisine is flavorful. Fast frying is one of the most famous techniques of Sichuan cuisine. So, you can bring in the chili and prepare the delectable dishes.
Mouth-watering, isn’t it? Don’t worry about the outcome. You will find thousands of recipes. All you have to do is pick the right ingredients, such as protein and the chili flakes and sauce. Once you have everything in place, begin the process!