If you question people about their favourite take away, most would say Chinese. It’s easy to eat as the meat and seafood come in bite-sized pieces and the chopsticks add an exotic feel to the whole experience. Flavorsome Chinese food varies according to the region it originates from, for example: Szechuan, Cantonese, Shanghainese – which are some of the popular varieties the world over. Some of these dishes are Americanized versions of the original or, at times, are totally American!
My all time favourite type of Chinese food is Szechuan cuisine. I can almost eat it everyday! I love the spices and the various types of dried chili. In a Szechuan kitchen, you’ll find dried chilies in a variety of shapes and sizes and a multitude of hues in bright orange, red and maroon. My most memorable experience when eating out was at a very small Szechuan restaurant in Hong Kong’s Soho district run by a couple (wife was Chef and husband was manager/waiter/cashier). The food was authentic, absolutely delicious and mind-numbingly spicy! At first, the chillies do not bother you as you are enjoying the wonderful flavours whilst you are busy digging into the food, but then, after a while, it begins to hit you, and it really numbs your lips and sets your mouth on fire. The kind owner had to give me a bowl of condensed milk and a saucer of sugar, as at that time I was seven months pregnant, and felt a bit light headed after the chillie tsunami hit me! I guess that’s the reason why my little daughter is as fiery as a little Szechuan chillie! 🙂
When cooking at home, my favourite Szechuan dish is spicy chili chicken. I add sesame oil, Chinese rice vinegar, chili, shrimp paste and light soy sauce to make the sauce and add it onto the sautéed chicken. Finally I add some spring onions, with some dried chilies to add some extra flavour and colour. For best results, I use thigh meat. Delicious when served with steamed rice and Chinese cabbage stirred in oyster sauce (future article on this blog) or bok choy in soy sauce (see previous article n this blog). Remember to keep the fire extinguisher at hand to douse your guests if you crank up the chillies too much! Then it will definitely be a night to remember! 😀
Dining Tip – A glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc goes well with the spice.