Jiao ma ji pian (Chicken Slices with Sichuan Pepper and Sesame Oil Sauce)
Sichuan is one of my favorite cuisines and Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking is my favorite cookbook for authentic dishes. It's such a comprehensive resource for ingredients and techniques with helpful photos, and every recipe I've made goes into my regular rotation. There's a section in the book with four different sauces for cold sliced or shredded chicken. These no-cook sauces are easy to put together with a well-stocked Asian pantry and I make these dishes frequently for lunch. While the book calls for poaching a whole chicken to tenderness with ginger and green onion, I find the sauces are a perfect solution for leftover chicken. The green onions can be left sliced, or made into a paste as they are in this recipe. I use green onions from my garden. Both I'itoi's onions or Egyptian Walking Onions multiply prolifically here in Arizona, and this time I used I'itoi's onions.
Don't confuse "light" soy sauce with low-calorie or low-salt. It refers to a color; light versus dark soy sauce. The easy-to-find Kikkoman is a light soy sauce, although I prefer Pearl River Bridge brand (found at most Asian markets).
I haven't made it with the raw peppercorns as I always have some toasted, ground and sifted in a jar in the pantry. I toast them in a pan, grind in a spice grinder, and sift into a container. It has a very distinct taste so if you're trying them for the first time, go light on this ingredient. When shopping for Sichuan peppercorns, look for fragrance and more husks than seeds. I buy mine from Penzey's. I find they're always high quality with the prized tingling or numbing quality these peppercorns should have.
Jiao Ma Ji Pian Adapted from Land of Plenty
1/2-1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns or ground Sichuan peppercorn powder
5 tops of green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chicken stock
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 pound cooled cooked chicken
- Soak the Sichuan peppercorns in very hot water for 5 minutes until softened and drain.
- Puree peppercorns, green onions and salt in a food processor or grind to a paste in a mortar. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the chicken stock and soy sauce and when combined stir in the sesame oil. Salt to taste, and drizzle over the chicken slices.
- Alternately: Whisk ground Sichuan pepper, salt, chicken stock, soy sauce and sesame oil until combined. Add sliced green onions, and pour over sliced chicken.