What Is Szechuan Sauce?
Szechwan sauce is an Indo-Chinese fusion recipe for a spicy hot chili sauce. This sauce can be served as a condiment for veggie cutlets, French fries, potato tikkis, veg momos, or spring rolls. It is also used in many Chinese recipes like fried rice, noodles, and vegetable balls in hot garlic sauce. The possibilities are really endless. It is an awesome accompaniment for pakoras, too. It's the perfect side for any mild-tasting and moderately bland food.
You can store this condiment for two to three weeks in the refrigerator. The shelf life increases if you add more oil on top of the sauce. You can use the remaining sauce for eating snacks, crepes, chips, etc.
Instead of grinding the chilies, I used red chili powders. I soaked them in water before adding in the recipe. I used mostly Kashmiri red chili powder and a small quantity of hot chili powder. Kashmiri chili powder gives a nice red color to the sauce, though it is less hot. To compensate for the lower level of hotness, I added a hot chili powder. You can blend them in whatever proportion you like to get the desired hotness and bright red color.
While making the sauce, my hands and face felt hot because of the chilis. It subsided once I came out of the kitchen after finishing the dish.
Note: You may also see Szechuan spelled as Sichuan. They have the same meaning.
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- 3 tablespoons Kashmiri chili powder (available in Indian stores)
- 1/2 tablespoon red chili powder (hot variety)
- 15 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup spring onion whites or onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown or regular salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon cane sugar
- 4 to 5 tablespoons oil
- 3 Sichuan peppers (optional; I didn't use), crushed
- Make a paste by mixing Kashmiri red chili powder, hot red chili powder, and water. Set aside for 10 minutes. During this time, the chili will absorb the water and become soft. Mix well once again.
- Heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add chopped onion. Sauté till it becomes transparent. Add chopped garlic and ginger. Continue sautéing on low fire for 2 to 3 minutes. Don't brown them.
- Pour chili paste into the pan and stir-cook for 2 minutes. If it is too thick, add 2 tablespoons of water. Let it boil on low fire. If you want to add the optional crushed Sichuan pepper, add it now. Continue stirring.
- Add soy sauce, salt, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, and pepper powder. Stir-cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or till the oil separates and can be seen around the edges.
- Check for taste. Adjust, if necessary, by adding salt, sugar, or pepper powder. Turn off the fire.
- Once the sauce cools down, transfer it into a bowl or a jar. Refrigerate if you are not using it instantly.
- Serve this sauce as a side dish for snacks, pakoras, momos, spring rolls, etc. You can make recipes like fried rice, noodles, veg balls in a hot garlic sauce, etc., using this sauce.