Magazine article Sunset

Szechwan Vegetables, Condiments: Alone or Together, Quick and Simple

Magazine article Sunset

Szechwan Vegetables, Condiments: Alone or Together, Quick and Simple

Article excerpt

These simple, quick dishes and condiments are designed to be part of the Szechwan party pictured on pages 88 and 89. Prepared individually, they can also add variety to everyday menus.

Predominantly seasoned by a blend of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar, the dishes have a light sweet-tart quality.

When not part of a Chineses-style meal, the stir-fried cabbage and the eggplant can be served as vegetable dishes, the cucumber and radishes as a salad. Use the pickled bell peppers, onions, carrots, and asparagus as you would pickles or a relish. Aromatic Szechwan peppercorns can be used like black pepper; you'll find them in many supermarkets as wellas Orietnal food stores.

USe the Szechwan-style mustard and pepper-salt mixture as you would regular mustard and salt and pepper. Stir-fried Napa Cabbage Salad 2 tablespoons each rice vinegar or white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 1 medium-size head (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb.) napa cabbage, rinsed and drained well Salad oil

In a small bowl, stir together vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and cayenne; set aside.

Cut cabbage into 2-inch squares.

Pour 3 tablespoons oil into a wok or 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat; when pan is hot, tilt to coat with oil. Add cabbage and stir-fry until it begins to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Add vinegar-soy mixture to cabbage and mix well; pour into a small serving dish. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Cucumber and Radish Salad 1 English or 4 Japanese cucumbers (about 1-1/4 lb. total), rinsed 1 pound radishes with tops (about 10 oz. if tops are trimmed off), rinsed. Dressing (directions follow)

Run tines of a fork lengthwise down all sides of cucumbers, piercing skin. Cut cucumbers crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

Trim tops and root ends from radishes.

With a small sharp knife, cut narrow V-shaped lengthwise gashes at intervals around the sides of each radish, then thinly slice crosswise.

In a serving bowl, mix together cucumber, radishes, and dressing. Cover and refrigerate until cold, 2 to hours, or as long as overnight. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Dressing. Stir together 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons each soy sauce and sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon liquid hot pepper seasoning. Pickled Red Bell Pepper

Cut 1-1/2 pounds red bell peppers (cored and seeded) into 1-inch chunks and put into a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt; cover and let stand overnight. Rinse peppers and drain well; return to bowl and add 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and sugar. Mix. Cover and chill at least 2 days or as long as 1 week. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Szechwan Eggplant and Pork

Rinse 1 small (about 3/4 lb.) eggplant; cut of and discard both ends. Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; cut slices into 1/2-inch-thick strips.

To a wok or 10- to 12-inch frying pan, add 3 tablespoons salad oil and set over high heat. When hot, add eggplant and stir to coat with oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Lift out eggplant and set aside.

To wok, add 1/4 pound ground lean pork, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger, and 1 teaspoon crushed dried hot re chilies. Crumble pork as you cook and stir it over high heat until meat browns, about 2 minutes. Return eggplant to pan and add cooking broth (recipe follows). …

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