I once heard a friend from Sichuan describe the enjoyment of Sichuan cuisine thusly: “When your scalp tingles and your lips tremble uncontrollably.”
This dish is sweet, sour, and spicy on your tongue, and numbing and tingling (麻) on your lips (and scalp, if you’re hard-core). Yum!
By: Mia Cee || Resting Hungry Face
1 lb. Napa cabbage, cut into 2″ pieces
2-3 fresh or dried chilis
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns or 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 + 1 tablespoons avocado oil
1. Heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil in a pan and add the cabbage. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the cabbage begins to soften. Don’t overcook. Remove from pan and drain.
2. Heat the other tablespoon of oil and stir fry the chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorn and ginger over low heat until aromatic (this will only take a few seconds). The Sichuan peppercorns will burn quickly, so keep a close eye on them. Add the drained cabbage back into the pan and toss.
3. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Add to the cabbage and toss. If the sauce is too liquidy for the amount of cabbage you have, add another 1/2 teaspoon of tapioca flour.
** I like this dish so spicy it makes me sweat, but that’s just me. Dried chilis are a less spicy option than fresh chilis, and deseeded dried chilis are an even less spicy option. You can also use chili/cayenne powder.
** You can toast the Sichuan peppercorns instead of frying them. To really bring out the flavor, toast and then crush in a mortar and pestle.