Born in Chengdu and raised everywhere, chef and entrepreneur Jing Gao has introduced America to the hot, tingly sensation of chili crisp and the Sichuan flavours that inspire it, first through her wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and currently through thousands of grocery stores across the United States. Now, in The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp, Jing shows how nearly every dish can be elevated with Sichuan’s complex flavours, taking you on a unique journey from her hometown to your own kitchen stove, all while sharing her personal story and reflections on this storied cuisine and the challenges she’s encountered along the way.
Rooted in tradition but adapted for the modern kitchen, these 85 recipes invite you to explore the nuances of Sichuan flavours and experiment with new ingredients. With gorgeous photography and punchy writing, Jing shows you how to incorporate these flavours in just about everything, including:
• snacks like Zhong Dumplings and Deviled Tea Eggs
• mains like Hongshao Carnitas Tacos, Fish Fragrant Crispy Eggplant, and Spicy Scallion Oil Noodles
• desserts and drinks like Chili Crisp Sundae with Fish Sauce Caramel Brittle, Poached Pear in Sichuan Pepper Syrup, and Baijiu Negroni
The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp is an ode to chili crisp and a story of resilience, breaking free from tradition, and writing new narratives. Grab yourself a jar of Sichuan Chili Crisp and dive in!
The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp: Spicy Recipes and Stories from Fly By Jing’s Kitchen [A Cookbook]
Kung Pao Shrimp
Kung pao, yet another classic flavour profile in Sichuan cuisine, is characterized by a balance of spicy, savoury, sour, and sweet tastes. The sauce is versatile and can be applied to many canvases, most famously on chicken. I’ve made everything from kungpao eel to venison to tofu, but the version I frequently make is shrimp, since it comes together quickly. Take caution when you fry the dried chilies. Depending on how hot your chilies are, the room and your lungs might fill with smoke, so try not to take any deep breaths and definitely turn on the exhaust fan and open the windows.
Makes 4 servings
2 Tbsp neutral oil
5 or 6 pieces dried chilies, cut into 1-inch / 2.5cm segments
1 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
1 Tbsp minced ginger 1 Tbsp minced garlic
3 scallions, white parts only, cut into ½-inch /1.3cm segments
2 celery stalks, cut into ½-inch / 1.3cm segments
1 lb / 450g shrimp, peeled, tails on
½ cup / 120ml Kungpao Sauce (page 225)
½ cup / 70g roasted cashews or peanuts
Microgreens or edible flowers for garnish (optional)
White rice for serving
- In a wok or frying pan over high heat, add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the chilies and Sichuan pepper and fry quickly so they don’t burn, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the ginger, garlic, and scallions and fry until fragrant. Add the celery and shrimp and flash-fry for about 3 minutes, until the shrimp start to turn pink.
- Pour in the sauce, stirring to make sure it coats all the ingredients evenly for 1 minute. The sauce will thicken as soon as it hits the heat, so move quickly here. Stir in the cashews at the very end before transferring to a serving platter.
- Garnish with the microgreens (if using) and serve immediately with rice.
Excerpted from The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp by Jing Gao. Copyright © 2023 Jing Gao. Photography by Yudi Ela Echevarria and Robert Nilsson. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.