This is not a dish I ate while I was growing up, but I get 水煮魚 almost every time I go to a Sichuan restaurant. I did my best to re-create it here, after reading Chinese and recipe databases and consulting with my mom and my grandma (po3po2), who moved to Chengdu when she was 4 or 5.IMG_1949-minedited

I love Sichuan food because it is spicy (peppers) and numbing (Sichuan peppercorn, or hua1jiao1 花椒), which is pretty exciting to my tastebuds. 好過癮! (hao3guo4ying3)

Ingredients Spotlight:

My Caucasian/American co-worker’s wife bought Sichuan peppercorns from Penzey’s, and apparently she was really frustrated because try as she might to grind the peppercorns as finely as possible, they tasted “gritty”. Turns out the problem was that the peppercorns she got still had lots of the black seeds in them! At the Asian or Chinese market, look for peppercorns that have mostly the husks/shells, because those are what give the numbing or ma2 麻 flavor.

Ground up in a coffee bean grinder

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