May 4, 2021 • 33M

XO Soused - taming the chilli pepper in Chinese cuisine

Andrew Wong and Mukta Das
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A fortnightly chat about techniques and dishes from a professional Chinese kitchen, their history and their cultural setting
Episode details

For an ingredient that entered into China in the 16th century - the chilli pepper has become a fundamental part of Chinese cooking. How does a chef learn to use this vegetable and it complex palate and texture? What was Chinese cuisine like before the chilli arrived? And how did it change the idea of Chinese ‘pungency' or 辛 [xīn]?

How would you use salted chillies, dried chillies, pickled chillies, fresh chillies and chillies in oil? What techniques are best and what attention to do you need to pay to the texture and cut of the meat and or plant protein that you are adding these to? How do chillies work with other kinds of spices to create flavour profiles like Sichuanese 麻辣 [Málà] that prolong the pleasurable exposure to the chilli hit?

an overhead shot of a white dish on a stainless steel surface. In the dish is a pile of cooked red chillies, herbs, vegetables and chicken.
Andrew’s version of 辣子雞. Traditionally diners eat the chicken and other aromatics but leave the chillies. In Andrew’s version he rehydrates, coats and then deep fries the chillies, which tames the heat, and allows diners to eat the whole dish, leaving nothing behind.

Intro and outro music: 遊子 [wanderer] by

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