Spice Up Dinner Tonight With These Chinese Szechuan Recipes

Szechuan beef stir-fried with vegetables in bowl
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What makes Szechuan cuisine so special? Hot, humid climates like Szechuan province call for food that is both hot and highly spiced. Here are my recommendations for the Top 10 Szechuan recipes.

  • 01 of 10

    Kung Pao Chicken

    Spicy Kung Pao Chicken with Rice
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    This is the popular dish made with chicken, peanuts, and hot chiles, named after a government official or "Kung Pao". Feel free to turn the heat up or down on this dish by adjusting the amount of chiles used. Cashews can replace the peanuts.

  • 02 of 10

    Mapo Tofu (Mapo Doufu)

    Close-Up Of Fried Rice With Mapo Doufu On Plate
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    Tofu and a bit of ground meat are dressed up with spicy seasonings in this popular dish. The name, Mapo Doufu, means "Old Pockmarked Grandmother Bean Curd" in honour of the old woman who is reputed to have invented the dish. Feel free to substitute ground beef for the ground pork if desired.

  • 03 of 10

    Hot and Sour Soup

    Thai hot and sour soup with vegetables and chicken in bowl, close-up
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    Unlike other Szechuan recipes, this popular soup gets its heat from white pepper (the sour comes from vinegar). Tofu adds extra protein to this warming soup that is reputed to be good for colds.

  • 04 of 10

    Chinese Green Beans

    Sichuan Spicy Stringbeans
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    This popular Szechuan dish is a staple at many Chinese restaurant buffets. Instead of chili paste, feel free to add 4 - 6 small dried red chilis if desired.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Ants Climbing a Tree

    Sichuan spicy pork noodles with bean sprouts, sugar snap peas and oak choi
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    This simple Szechuan dish consists of bits of ground pork on rice vermicelli noodles.

  • 06 of 10

    Twice Cooked Pork (Hui Guo Rou)

    Szechuan cuisine Hui Guo Rou
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    Pork is first boiled, and then stir-fried in this Szechuan dish. Here is another variation on Twice Cooked Pork, made with sweet bean paste and different vegetables.

  • 07 of 10

    Crispy Szechuan Beef (Gan Bian Niu Rou Si)

    chinese szechuan beef with rice on plate
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    This recipe uses a technique known as "dry-frying" where the beef is fried for several minutes, making it extra chewy and crispy. The dry-fried beef is then stir-fried with Chinese spices and seasonings.

  • 08 of 10

    Chicken With Orange Peel

    Orange Chicken
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    Poultry and citrus are a popular combination in western China. The linking of hot chiles with Szechuan peppercorn produces the "numbing fire" that gives Szechuan cuisine its fiery reputation.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Bang Bang Chicken (Bang Bang Ji)

    Bag Bang Chicken Salad
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    Sweet, sour and salty come together in this popular dish, also known as Strange Flavor Chicken. Chunky peanut butter can be used in place of sesame paste.

  • 10 of 10

    Spicy Szechuan Eggplant

    Spicy szechuan fish fragrant eggplant
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    Eggplant and ground pork are stir-fried with chile paste paste and other seasonings in this spicy Szechuan recipe. For a vegetarian version, leave out the ground pork and increase the eggplant.