Ying's Szechuan Potato Chop with Asparagus

 

This is based on my friend Ying's recipe. The great thing about this recipe is that it's delicious and wide open to interpretation. If you don't have asparagus, you can substitute anything else! I often make this with pea shoots and/or mustard greens. It seems strange, but we always seem to eat it with rice in spite of whatever your mom might have said about mixing your starches. In any case, this is a recipe that wants to be toyed with, so play around with the ingredients. If you don't like it too spicy, cut down on the hot pepper and szechuan peppercorns (though the peppercorns are not actually that spicy - they have a numbing effect on your tongue. Ying says they use them and prickly ash oil so they can eat spicier food than they would otherwise be able to tolerate). Also, when eating szechuan peppercorns, watch out for the black ones! Some of them seem to be full of a black substance that's unpleasantly gritty on your teeth. I try to pick those out before cooking (or at least before eating).

What you will need

2 Large Potatoes (russett, yukon gold, something that won't fall apart when frying)

3 Cloves of Garlic or 1 medium stalk of green garlic

2 teaspoons Szechuan Peppercorn (whole)

1 teaspoon Dried, crushed hot peppers

10 pieces Asparagus

2 tablespoons Vegetable or peanut oil

1.5 - 2 tablespoons Rice vinegar

1 Stalk of green onion (optional)

1/4 teaspoon Sesame oil (optional)

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