After moving to the US............. I was reminded of all the amazing food back home in India. I learnt how to cook most of the food that we wanted to eat by asking mom, reading books, the internet and sometimes by just remembering the taste and recalling the ingredients.One such spice was the 'Sichuan Pepper' also called as 'Teppal' or 'Triphal' in Konkai & Marathi respectively. However, I never got hold of this in the US. Craved for the fish curry with this spice. Finally got a hold of it on the amazon store and bought the bottle. It smells like the teppal back home - but these are small in size and a little red in color too. But, they are still the same and I am glad to have my hands on it now. Here is the link - Ajika-Sichuan-Peppercorns
Well - the day we got this bottle, we wanted to use it. We had no fish at home and hence fish curry was out of question. Well, the name is sichuan pepper - which is so southeast Asian. Well, we decided to make a nice chili chicken type dish - only with no chilies but with the spice in the bottle. Well, it turned out quite nice. We loved it and this dish is a keeper now.
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs - cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce - you can use any soy sauce you have
3 tablespoons peanut oil - again, you can use any oil of your chocie (just do not use extravirgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt - you can skip salt if you want as the soy sauce has salt in it.
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons sichuan pepper - crushed - I coarsely powdered mine in the spice/coffee grinder
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 bunch spring onions/scallions - chopped
1/4 teaspoon chili powder - you can skip it if you do not want this spice.
1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/2 cup oil for frying
Add the soy sauce, sugar, salt, chilli powder, black pepper powder and 1 teaspoon crushed sichuan pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken pieces and coat each piece with the marinade. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Heat the 1/2 cup oil in a wok/karahi. Add the cornstarch to the marinated chicken and coat all pieces well. Now fry the chicken untill it gets cooked fully, about 7 to 10 minutes. I fried the chicken in 2 batches. Remove the chicken onto a plate.
Let the oil cool - remove it into a bottle if you wish to use it once again or you can discard it.
In the same wok add the 3 tablespoons of peanut oil (if you wish you can use 3 tablespoons of the oil the chicken was fried in too). When the oil gets hot, add the ginger and garlic and the white portion of the chopped spring onions/scallions and saute for about 30 second - be careful not to burn the garlic. Bring the heat to medium and add the balance 2 teaspoons of crushed sichuan pepper and mix well. Add the fried chicken and coat it well with the ginger, garlic and scallion mixture. Remove into a serving dish and garnish with the green part of the spring onion/scallions.
This could be served as a starter or it could be teamed with some ginger and egg fried rice as a full meal (thats how we had it)