This classic Sichuan dish is usually made with Beef - Shui Zhu Niu Rou, the version made with fish Shui Zhu Yu is one of our favorite dishes at Ba Ren, which more appropriately calls these dishes "Boiled in Hot Sauce". Tonight I thought I'd try making it with lamb.
I was surprised how well it turned out.... not quite sure about the photos though. The Missus said they look like brains boiled in hot sauce! The recipe is loosely based on Fuchsia Dunlop's recipe in her fantastic cookbook, Land of Plenty which I've referenced many times over the years. If you have that recipe handy you'll notice more than a few differences. First, I really used water, not stock for this. I also bumped up all the spices, and used four different sources of chilies, including Korean Ground Red Chili and my home made chili oil. I also used tablespoons of freshly toasted and ground Sichuan Peppercorns instead of teaspoons. If you try this recipe out, you may want to increase it even more since I used Sichuan Peppercorns directly from Sichuan that had never been irradiated. Instead of numbing your tongue and lips, it'll numb your entire face. I also used finely minced garlic and a touch of grated ginger, which really helped the dish along.
What's really interesting about this dish is that it's built in layers using a single wok. First you use the chilies and most of the ground Sichuan Peppercorn to develop a chili-and-peppercorn infused oil.
You then remove the chilies and use the oil to very briefly stir fry your vegetables. Because I used two different veggies, I made this in two batches.
Next you build your "sauce", much like the way I do my Ma Po Tofu. Once you have your sauce boiling you add your meat, which has been marinating in Shaoxing wine, and mixed with a cornstarch mixture. You stir briefly with chopsticks to ensure the meat is separated. Once the meat is cooked you remove the meat from the now thickened sauce, and add that to the bowl. You then pour the sauce over everything. Chop the dried chilies, sprinkle them on top of everything along with more Sichuan Peppercorn..... and it's done.
In case you're thinking this was a long drawn out process, it was actually pretty quick. I even made another stir fried vegetable dish for dinner...... Oh, and it was more "Ma" (numbing) than "La" spicy, at least to me.
2/3 lb vegetables - mung bean sprouts, lettuce, napa cabbage, etc
2/3 lb Sliced Lamb
2 Tb Shaoxing Wine (Drinking Quality please)
10-15 Dried Red Chilies
3 Tb freshly toasted and ground Sichuan Peppercorn
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 tsp grated ginger
3 Tb Peanut Oil
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1 tsp Ground Red Chilies
3 Tb home made chili oil
4-5 Tb Sichuan Chili Bean Paste aka Doubian Jian (make sure it's made from Broad Beans)
4 Tb Corn Starch combined with 4-5 Tb water to form a paste
2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 tsp Premium Soy sauce
1 Tb white granulated sugar
2 cups water
salt to taste
- Prep and slice (if necessary) your vegetables
- Slice dried chilies in half and discard the seeds
- Combine the sliced lamb with Shaoxing Wine, mix well, and let marinate
- Add peanut oil to a medium hot wok. Add the dried chilies and 2 tablespoons of Sichuan Peppercorn to the wok.Stir Fry until the chilies start to brown, do not scald. Quickly remove the chilies.
- Add vegetables to the wok and stir fry quickly. Since I used two different items I did this twice. I added a touch of salt and the ground red chilies to the greens. Just briefly cook the vegetables, they should still be crunchy when removed from the wok to create the first layer(s) in your bowl.
- Add the canola oil (I used canola oil instead of peanut oil for this because peanut oil is so darn expensive nowadays) and turn up the heat.
- When the oil begins to shimmer add the Bean Paste, stir frying until it is fragrant.Add garlic, ginger, and mix quickly.
- Add water, soy sauces, and sugar.
- While the liquid is coming up to a boil. Combine the cornstarch mixture with the lamb and mix well.
- When the sauce is boiling, dip a chopstick into the sauce and taste. Adjust the flavor if necessary.
- Start adding the slices of meat to the sauce. As the sauce comes up to a boil use chopsticks to separate the slices of meat.
- Once the meat is cooked, use chopsticks or a slotted spoon to top the vegetables with the meat.
- Pour the bubbling sauce over everything
- Chop the red chilies, and sprinkle on top, drizzle on chili oil to taste along with the remaining tablespoon of Sichuan Pepper.