To a Sichuanese, there’s never enough chilli in the world.
People from other parts of China might think we’re lying when we point to a dish covered in red chilli oil and green peppers and red peppers and Sichuan peppercorns and say, “It’s not really that spicy.”
But that’s the honest truth.
Like these are considered just a mild level of spicy to a Sichuanese.
These tiny green shoots are our favourite plants.
They’re planted and well taken care of.
Until these slender red and green fruits appear.
Chilli red is the most seductive colour.
Chilli peppers are good friends with garlic.
Garlics are a must-have when cooking fish. They help to get rid of the “fishy” smell of seafood.
七星椒, Seven-Stars Pepper, a sub-cultivar of Sky-Pointing Pepper.
Best used in salads and cold dishes.
二荆条, erjingtiao pepper, mild level of spicy.
Freshly cooked erjingtiao peppers have a sweet aftertaste, that is, after you get past the initial burning sensation.
Best used in stir-fried meat dishes.
Dried chilli peppers are used in kung pao chicken and spicy diced chicken dishes.
Just the mentioning of the word chilli produces an instant reaction in Sichuanese.
Chilli peppers are an extremely accommodating spice. They can team up with anything: garlic, ginger, peppercorn.
Each combination gives rise to a new and exciting flavour.
Chilli oil: dried chilli deep fried with sesame seeds and peanuts.
Hotpot base: chilli oil with tallow and spices.
By the way, chilli, and anything made with chilli in it, is extremely addictive. Once you try it you’ll never be able to forget it—probably one reason why Sichuanese people don’t do drugs; we’re already addicted to one substance for life.