If you can’t try Sichuan’s best dishes in Chengdu, why not host your own spicy Sichuan banquet at home? This advanced menu isn’t for the faint-hearted, but we guarantee your guests will be blown away by the results.
In true Sichuan fashion, kick things off with a selection of starters. Try a cold dish such as this Kou Shui Ji (Sichuan Chicken in Chilli Oil) – the coolness of the meat will balance out the heat of the dressing. Serve porcelain mugs or small bowls of Suan La Tang (Hot and Sour Soup), then round out the starters with a dish of Sichuan Red Oil Wontons. It’s only round one, but your guests will already be searching for ways to tame the heat of Sichuan cuisine, so have ice-cold Chinese beers or glasses of soy milk at the ready.
One of our favourite ways to host a dinner party is by creating a DIY Sichuan hot pot, placing a pot of broth on a gas burner in the centre of the table along with an array of raw meat and seafood, Asian greens, mushrooms, noodles and tofu, then letting your guests cook their own ingredients. If that sounds too tricky for your dining set-up, simply serve ready-made Sichuan mains, such as Sui Zhu Yu (Sichuan Boiled Fish), Simmered Beef in Hot Chilli Soup, and golden fried Chongqing Lazi Ji – chicken studded with chillies.
By now, your friends will definitely need a reprieve from the fiery heat of Sichuan cuisine, so be sure to have some cooling sides ready, such as steamed rice, Stir-fried Lettuce and Bean Sprouts, and Green Beans with Pork Mince.
This is one dinner party where it pays to break from tradition on the drinks front. Keep your favourite wine in the cellar, and instead follow these tips for how to cool your mouth after eating spicy food. Load the fridge with crisp Asian beers, soda with fresh lime, chilled milk, or tomato juice.
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