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Spicy Szechuan sauce help


tikidoc
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On our way home on vacation, we went to a Szechuan restaurant in Fairfield, CT, called Shu. There were a couple appetizers (a rolled scallion pancake and a dumpling) that were served with an amazing sauce that I would love to replicate. It was spicy, but I think the spice all came from red peppers, not Szechuan “numbing” peppers - I didn’t get the numbing sensation, just standard red pepper burn. The sauce was fairly oily and very red/orange, but complex and mildly sweet. Definitely garlicky, maybe some ginger (the garlic predominated), and some other savory spices I could not identify. It also smelled wonderful. My main dish was not as good as the apps, and I ended up using some of this wonderful stuff  on my rice.

 

For those who know more about Szechuan food than I, does this sound like a sauce you know of? I’d prefer not to wait until our annual MA beach vacation to eat this again!

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You could try this.

 

LKKChiliGarlic.jpg

 

 

It isn't specifically Sichuanese, but then neither is your description; it could be one of hundreds of such sauces and perhaps home made.

 

Here is one recipe for home made garlic chili sauce.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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6 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

@tikidoc, how would you compare that sauce you loved to Lao Gan Ma's Spicy Chili Crisp

There are recipes around for homemade versions of that condiment (like this one from Serious Eats) that could be a good starting point if they are at all similar. 

OMG, that stuff is so good. I think I'm addicted to it. 

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9 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

how would you compare that sauce you loved to Lao Gan Ma's Spicy Chili Crisp

 

3 hours ago, SusieQ said:

OMG, that stuff is so good. I think I'm addicted to it. 

 

I agree it's good, but not Sichuanese. Not that it isn't available there, although it's from Guizhou province..

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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9 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

@tikidoc, how would you compare that sauce you loved to Lao Gan Ma's Spicy Chili Crisp

There are recipes around for homemade versions of that condiment (like this one from Serious Eats) that could be a good starting point if they are at all similar. 

 

I think that may be a starting point. I think I have had that before, and I will see about getting a jar and starting there. As I remember, the sauce in the jar is pretty much straight savory. The one in the restaurant was mildly sweet, tempering the spice a bit, and more complex than I remember that sauce.

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On review, it looks like the homemade version on serious eats has a larger variety of spices than the stuff in the jar, and may be closer to what we tried. I’m planning to hit a couple local Asian markets this week and give that recipe a try. Thanks! 

 

As as an aside, any suggestions for a good Szechuan cookbook would also be appreciated!

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21 minutes ago, tikidoc said:

 

As as an aside, any suggestions for a good Szechuan cookbook would also be appreciated! 

 

Fuchchia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty" (UK title - Sichuan Cookery) is the standard go to, but is about to be  republished as "The Food of Sichuan, an updated edition ... ...  fully illustrated and with lots of new recipes and information" acccording to a message she sent me last week.

 

66042135_2643082065724516_5859430007109058560_n.thumb.jpg.8c6c0ddf92ce3971aecbea0a6cc03ffa.jpg

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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Just now, Duvel said:

A very common option is also red chili oil mixed with sweetened aromatic soy sauce. Any chance it went into that direction ?

Would that be  ketjap manis mixed with red chili oil?  

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1 hour ago, Duvel said:

A very common option is also red chili oil mixed with sweetened aromatic soy sauce. Any chance it went into that direction ?

 

I don’t think so, assuming you are talking about the standard “sweet soy sauce.” Again, quite complex, with spices I could not identify. What you mention sounds yummy, but more more simple than what we ate. 

 

2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

 

Fuchchia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty" (UK title - Sichuan Cookery) is the standard go to, but is about to be  republished as "The Food of Sichuan, an updated edition ... ...  fully illustrated and with lots of new recipes and information" acccording to a message she sent me last week.

 

66042135_2643082065724516_5859430007109058560_n.thumb.jpg.8c6c0ddf92ce3971aecbea0a6cc03ffa.jpg

 

 

Thanks! I’ll look into this! We have two Szechuan restaurants in our area, and both are pretty good at times but inconsistent in quality. So I’d like to be able to do more at home.

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Just now, liuzhou said:

 

 

It might be in the US. It certainly isn't in Sichuan. Kecap Manis is Indonesian.

 

Thanks.  I know it is Indonesian but I thought that might be what sweetened aromatic soy sauce was as ketchup manis is the only sweetened soy sauce I know.

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4 hours ago, tikidoc said:

 

I think that may be a starting point. I think I have had that before, and I will see about getting a jar and starting there. As I remember, the sauce in the jar is pretty much straight savory. The one in the restaurant was mildly sweet, tempering the spice a bit, and more complex than I remember that sauce.

 

Your mention of a bit of sweetness reminds me of my favorite:  Yank Sing Chili Pepper Sauce.  It's not at all Sichuanese as it's from a Cantonese-style restaurant in San Francisco known for Dim Sum but it is very delicious.  Sadly, they are no longer selling it.  I heard somewhere that it was a family dispute of some sort.   Anyway, eG member @hzrt8w put some effort into duplicating the product and shared his recipe in this post: Home made hot chili oil recipe.  He allows that it's not a duplicate but that he likes it.   He also mentions what alternatives he tried and what he thought of them.  That might also give you some ideas. 

 

I've still got one jar of the Yank Sing sauce that I've been hoarding.  I should try @hzrt8w's recipe while I've still got the original to compare to.    Here are the listed ingredients on my jar:

IMG_1168.thumb.jpg.efdd8ba50ebea808dbbad4f3edf1845f.jpg

 

IMG_1167.thumb.jpg.62185e29807ea658a9881201d119c2c1.jpg

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1 hour ago, tikidoc said:

I don’t think so, assuming you are talking about the standard “sweet soy sauce.” Again, quite complex, with spices I could not identify. What you mention sounds yummy, but more more simple than what we ate. 

 

Not quite simple ... did your source have soy our plain oil ?

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

 

Regular soy sauce with sugar in it. A Cantonese / Hong Kong thing. Again, not Sichuan.

 

Not quite. Sweet aromatic soy sauce (or 复制酱油) is pretty much Sichuanese; a recipe is provided in the book you’ve recommended ...

 

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I used the one in the JB Award wining Phoenix Claw and Jade Trees. 

 

It's similar to woks of life recipe only they use black cardamom, ginger, scallion, no garlic 

 

the Sichuan peppercorns give it a floral, fragrant flavor in addition to the numbing 

 

you can find both Sichuan peppercorns and black cardamom in the Chinatown in NYC (not sure about your location) 

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11 hours ago, Duvel said:

 

Not quite. Sweet aromatic soy sauce (or 复制酱) is pretty much Sichuanese; a recipe is provided in the book you’ve recommended ...

 

 

Mea culpa.

However, the OP describes his sauce as being "very red/orange"; I can't see that recipe coming out that colour. Also, he or she specifies that he or she didn't detect any Sichuan peppercorn (included in the recipe), but only chili (which is not included).

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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3 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Mea culpa.

However, the OP describes his sauce as being "very red/orange"; I can't see that recipe coming out that colour. Also, he or she specifies that he or she didn't detect any Sichuan peppercorn (included in the recipe), but only chili (which is not included).

 

Actually, I have seen it only mixed. A bottom layer of the soy sauce with copious amounts of chili oil floating on the top. Nevertheless, I agree with you that the description fits more to an garlic bean sauce type, but the flavour profile remains inconclusive ...

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To be honest, I think the OP is going to have to contact the restaurant and ask. There are so many chilli sauces in Chinese cuisine and many places make their own. Literally thousands. We could guess forever, but...haystacks and needles.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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