Citizens, the clean mountain rivers of Sichuan province are teeming with crayfish – for those who thought these were simply a Cajun or Scandinavian treat, you may now consider yourselves educated!
The Sichuan version isn’t boiled however – it’s stir-fried with typical Chinese seasonings and enough chili pepper to give even the most dedicated spicehound pause! “Ma la” means “numbing and spicy” – the numbing comes from a large amount of Sichuan peppercorns.
This will be a great new taste experience for you, my Citizens – enjoy! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
4 lbs whole and preferably live crawfish, rinsed well with fresh water if frozen or left to purge in fresh water for 1 hour if alive
10 cloves garlic (peel the skin and lightly pound)
5 sprigs cilantro
5 slices fresh ginger
4 green onions, cut into 2 –inch segments
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
30 dried red chilies (Chiles de Arbol work well here if you cannot find the right Chinese dried chiles)
1/3 cup Sichuan peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn oil
¼ cup peanut oil
Combine the stock, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil, five spice powder, soy sauce and chicken bouillon powder in a bowl and reserve.
Heat up a large wok with the peanut oil over high heat. Add in garlic cloves, ginger, bay leaves and scallions and stir-fry for 20 seconds or so.
Lower the heat to medium, and add in the dried chilies and Sichuan peppercorns until a spicy and aromatic aroma occurs, another 20 seconds or so.
Turn the heat back up to high and add the crawfish, stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add in the liquid seasonings, toss to coat the crawfish well, cover and let steam for 8 minutes. Add in the cilantro and Sichuan peppercorn oil after cooking, toss, then dish out and serve immediately.