Sichun Scorched Chili Flavor

Scorched Chili Flavor–Flavors of Sichuan

This is the flavor of that famous, delicious dish, Gong Bao chicken (often called Kung Pao chicken here.) Timing is key to this dish–dried chilies are fried very carefully in oil so that they are fragrant but not burned, and then other ingredients are added in. These can include some of the common suspects: sichuan pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger, scallions and garlic. The flavor of this sauce is one of those combinatorial ones: It combines the key classic flavors in this lil’ glossary we’ve put together with Dunlop’s help below, plus more.
xiang: fragrant
la: hot
han: salty
xian: hard to define—that amazing flavor of fresh meat, poultry, fish
tian: sweet

Yum yum yum. All the good things.

What are the flavors that make Sichuan food so fracking good? In this series, we explore these flavors, drawing from Fuschia Dunlop’s list of the ’23 flavors of Sichuan food’ which can be combined with prep methods, different food types and shapes to create an almost infinite set of culinary possibilities.

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