The cooking of China’s Szechuan province is commonly thought of as always being very hot and spicy, but really it is all about the yin and yang (balance) achieved through using combinations of flavours, of which chilli heat is just one. This stir-fry blend has the perfect balance. It does not contain lots of chilli, although the Szechuan peppercorns used bring a gentle, numbing heat. However, sugar and sesame make it sweet and earthy too.
It can be used in a few different ways. It is particularly good in simple stir fries (you can do this with chicken, seafood, pork or vegetables), giving them a wonderful flavour. Also it is very good for braising duck or pork, the sweetness in the mix cutting through the fattiness of the meat. Vegetarians can use the mix to braise beancurd in the same way, making it aromatic and flavoursome.
Perhaps best of all it is delicious when used in noodle soups, which are a staple dish in China. A couple of teaspoons added to your soup base will produce a deliciously warming bowl of goodness – this blend is an easy way to produce the true flavour of Szechuan!