Updated: Oct 29, 2018
If you think you are a foodie, you gotta try Szechuan food! They are often known as "the spicy Chinese food", but not all Szechuan dishes are. Actually they don't have to be spicy at all to be tasty!
The soul of authentic Szechuan food is an authentic Szechuan chili paste. It is widely used in Szechuan cuisine, such as salad, stew, and stir-fry. Chili paste is spicy AND salty, so be very mindful when using this paste. You may not need to add any extra salt at all! If you don't care for spicy food too much, then just add a tiny bit of the paste, it'll add some complexity to the dish, and makes it more interesting. If you remember from our very first few recipes we actually used this paste in a Tofu dish that has a Chinese-Mexican-Californian fusion flair.
You can find many brands of Szechuan chili paste, but our favorite is this one: the Chuan Lao Hui （川老汇）Pixian （郫县）Broadbean （豆瓣）Paste （酱）. Now "Pixian" is the place famous for making the best Szechuan chili paste, kinda like Champagne and Burgundy for wine, and it is now often associated with this particular type of chili paste.
So here is what we made last night:
Szechuan Chicken Drumsticks
Chicken drumsticks, 10 (~ 2 Lb)
Ginger root, 4 or 5 slices
Green onion, 3 stalks
Garlic, 2 or 3 cloves
Szechuan chili paste, 1~2 tbsp (based on personal taste)
Cooking oil, 2 tablespoons
Salt, 1~2 teaspoons
Sugar, preferably brown sugar to add color, 2 tablespoons
Water, 2 cups
Boil a pot of water, and put in the chicken drumsticks, when it boils again, turn off heat, drain water, rinse the drumsticks with cold water and pat dry.
In a dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp oil, put in the ginger root, green onions, and garlic, cook for 1 minute; then put in the Szechuan chili paste, use a spatula to gently break it apart and mix with the oil.
Use a pair of tongs to gently put in the chicken drumsticks, turn the heat down to medium, cook for about 2 minutes, then flip the drumsticks to the other side, and cook for another 2 minutes; add 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1~2 tsp of salt (salt to taste).
When it boils, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 20 minutes; flip the drumsticks every 5 minutes; turn up the heat to high and cook for another 2~3 minutes so the sauce thickens up.
Plate the drumsticks, get some rice, and veggie, and...DIG IN!