Zechuan cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, or Szechwan cuisine is a style of Chinese cuisine originating from Sichuan province in southwestern China. It has bold flavours, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chilli peppers, as well as the unique flavour of the Sichuan pepper. Peanuts, sesame paste, and ginger are also prominent ingredients in Szechuan cooking.Although the official pinyin romanisation now is Sichuan, the cuisine is still often spelled Szechuan or Szechwan in North America. There are many local variations of Szechuan cuisine within Sichuan province and the Chongqing municipality, which was part of Sichuan until 1997. The four regional sub-styles include Chongqing, Chengdu, Zigong, and Buddhist vegetarian style. UNESCO declared Chengdu to be a city of gastronomy in 2011, due to the sophistication of its cooking. If your China tour packages covers Sichuan, you should never miss tasting Sichuan Cuisine.
Szechuan cuisine often contains food preserved through pickling, salting, and drying and is generally spicy due to heavy application of chilli oil. The Sichuan pepper is commonly used. Sichuan pepper has an intensely fragrant, citrus-like flavour and produces a "tingly-numbing" sensation in the mouth. Also common are garlic, chilli peppers, ginger, star anise and other spicy herbs, plants and spices. Broad bean chili paste is also a staple seasoning in Szechuan cuisine. The region's cuisine has also been the source of several prominent sauces widely used in Chinese cuisine in general today, including yuxiang , mala , and guaiwei . Each of these seasons play an important role in Sichuan cuisine. The dishes prepared would be another highlight of your China tours in Sichuan.
Common preparation techniques in Szechuan cuisine include stir frying, steaming and braising, but a complete list would include more than 20 distinct techniques. Beef is somewhat more common in Szechuan cuisine than it is in other Chinese cuisines, perhaps due to the prevalence of oxen in the region. Stir-fried beef is often cooked until chewy, while steamed beef is sometimes coated with rice flour to produce a very rich gravy. Szechuan cuisine also utilises various bovine and porcine organs as ingredients such as intestine, arteries, the head, tongue, skin, and liver in addition to other commonly utilised portions of the meat.
Some Szechuan dishes include Kung Pao chicken and twice cooked pork. Although many dishes live up to their spicy reputation, there are a large percentage of recipes that use little or no hot spices at all, including dishes such as tea smoked duck. If you happen to have Yangtze River cruises, you should never miss tasting the spicy Sichuan food in Chonqing.
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