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Szechuan cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, or Szechwan cuisine (// or //; Chinese: 四川菜; pinyin: Sìchuān cài or Chinese: 川菜; pinyin: Chuān cài) is a style of Chinese cuisine originating from Sichuan province in southwestern China. It has bold flavours, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavor of the Sichuan pepper. There are many local variations within Sichuan province and the Chongqing municipality, which was part of Sichuan until 1997. Four sub-styles include Chongqing, Chengdu, Zigong, and Buddhist vegetarian style.
Sichuan is colloquially known as the "heavenly country" due to its abundance of food and natural resources. One ancient Chinese account declared that the "people of Sichuan uphold good flavor, and they are fond of hot and spicy taste." Most Szechuan dishes are spicy, although a typical meal includes non-spicy dishes to cool the palate. According to at least one Chinese culinary writer,[who?] Szechuan cuisine is composed of seven basic flavours: sour, pungent, hot, sweet, bitter, aromatic, and salty. Szechuan food is divided into five different types: sumptuous banquet, ordinary banquet, popularised food, household-style food, and food snacks. Szechuan cuisine has changed little over the years, and milder versions of Sichuan dishes remain a staple of American Chinese cuisine.
Szechuan cuisine often contains food preserved through pickling, salting, and drying and is generally spicy owing to heavy application of chili oil. The Sichuan pepper (Chinese: 花椒; pinyin: huājiāo; literally: "flower pepper") is commonly used. Sichuan pepper has an intensely fragrant, citrus-like flavour and produces a "tingly-numbing" (Chinese: 麻; pinyin: má) sensation in the mouth. Also common are garlic, chili peppers, ginger, star anise and other spicy herbs, plants and spices. Broad bean chili paste (simplified Chinese: 豆瓣酱; traditional Chinese: 豆瓣醬; pinyin: dòubànjiàng) is also a staple seasoning in Szechuan cuisine. The region's cuisine has also been the source of several prominent sauces widely used in Chinese cuisine in general today, including yuxiang (魚香), mala (麻辣), and guaiwei (怪味).
Beef is somewhat more common in Szechuan cuisine than it is in other Chinese cuisines, perhaps due to the prevalence of oxen in the region. Stir-fried beef is often cooked until chewy, while steamed beef is sometimes coated with rice flour to produce a very rich gravy. Szechuan cuisine also utilizes various bovine and porcine organs as ingredients such as intestine, arteries, the head, tongue, skin, and liver in addition to other commonly utilised portions of the meat.
Rabbit meat is also much more popular in Sichuan than elsewhere in China, with the Sichuan Basin region (Sichuan Province and Chongqing) estimated to consumer some 70% of China's rabbit meat consumption.
|English||Traditional Chinese||Simplified Chinese||Pinyin||Notes|
|Kung Pao chicken||宮保雞丁||宫保鸡丁||gōngbǎo jīdīng|
|Tea smoked duck||樟茶鴨||樟茶鸭||zhāngchá yā|
|Twice cooked pork||回鍋肉||回锅肉||huíguōròu|
|Mapo Tofu||麻婆豆腐||麻婆豆腐||mápó dòufǔ|
|Yu Xiang Rou Si||魚香肉絲||鱼香肉丝||yuxiang rousi|
|Sichuan hotpot||四川火鍋||四川火锅||Sìchuān huǒguō|
|Fuqi feipian||夫妻肺片||夫妻肺片||fūqī fèipiàn||Cold beef tripe|
|Spicy deep-fried chicken||辣子雞||辣子鸡||làzǐjī|
|Water cooked dishes||水煮||水煮||shuǐzhǔ|
|Dan dan noodles||擔擔麵||担担面||dàndàn miàn|
|Bon bon chicken||棒棒雞||棒棒鸡||bàngbàng jī|