Sichuan Recipes Easy
Most of us were acquainted with Sichuan cuisine when the Mala Xiang Guo craze hit our shores some time ago between 2017 and 2018. And since then, we’ve been chasing the bold and fiery — often numbing — flavours in all sorts of Sichuan fare.
Keep reading if you’re curious to know what simple Sichuan dishes you can make at home — here’s a list of 8 Sichuan recipes for you to whip up in your kitchen.
1. Mala and Tomato Hotpot
We’re starting our list strong with a Mala and Tomato Hotpot soup base, just in time for Lunar New Year. Hotpots are truly Singaporean’s favourite to start off the season — whether you’re having it for Reunion Dinner, or gathering with a group of friends — can you really say you’ve been through January or February without eating hotpot at least once?
The soup is always the star of the show. Whether you like to leave veggies in the soup to soak up all that flavour, or love to douse your rice in soup, the soup base always adds another dimension to the taste of the ingredients boiling inside that huge pot.
This year, why not try your hand at making your own soup from scratch? We promise it’s not as daunting as it sounds.
Perhaps another reason why hotpot is such a LNY favourite is because it symbolises togetherness. Few meals involve everyone gathering together over a big table, cooking over the same pot, and serving cooked meat and vegetables into the bowls of your loved ones.
Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 4 pax.
2. Sichuan Chilli and Garlic Knife Cut Noodles
I didn’t expect much from this Sichuan Chilli and Garlic Knife Cut Noodles because of how minimalistic it was, but it showed me that a little can really go a long way.
For this recipe, the sauce steals the show. The blend of the rich umami of soy sauce, tanginess of the vinegar, a kick of spiciness from the Lao Gan Ma and the tingly-numbing feeling from the peppercorn — all the signature Sichuan flavours came together to make something so addictive that I slurped every strand of noodle straight into my mouth.
To me, this makes for the perfect supper recipe, even when I’m hungry at 3AM with nothing in my fridge. Most of the condiments for the sauce can be found as pantry staples, plus knife-cut noodles (if you don’t have these, instant noodles would suffice) and an egg.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes. Serves 1 pax.
3. La Zi Ji
Crispy, deep-fried chicken chunks tossed in a fiery mix of Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilli peppers, and various spices… As a Mala Xiang Guo convert, I’ve always wanted to try La Zi Ji at the China skewers stall that I frequent, but it’s a little pricey so I’ve never gotten down to actually ordering it.
And now I simply don’t have to because I can make it at home. This La Zi Ji was way simpler to cook than I thought it would be, because this recipe employs the classic air-fryer hack, so even a cooking noob like me could make it. (Air Fryer for the Edison Awards, anybody?)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes. Serves 2-3 pax.
4. Spicy Kou Shui Ji
If your go-to at the chicken rice stall is steamed chicken, and you’re all about that sauce that’s served in the chicken plate, this one’s for you. Kou Shui Ji. Translated literally, it means saliva chicken, which alludes to one drooling over this dish in anticipation of how good it tastes.
And indeed, who can resist? Tender chicken steamed to perfection, but just like our steamed chicken at the Hainanese Chicken Rice stall, the sauce takes centre stage. This sauce is slightly different, but perhaps even more appealing: umami and spicy with a tingling aftertaste, and topped with toasted peanuts and sesame seeds that add a rich, nutty flavour to counter the heat.
Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 4 pax.
5. Sichuan Fragrant Roast Duck
Sichuan Fragrant Roast Duck is perhaps not as well known as its northern neighbour, Peking duck. But this underrated dish is in every way, equally delicious.
I’ve always associated Sichuan cuisine with that spicy, numbing flavour, but this Sichuan Fragrant Roast Duck doesn’t taste like that. It doesn’t taste like anything I’ve had before, for that matter, because of the unique blend of spices used for its rub.
Another cool fact — contrary to my expectations, this dish wasn’t spicy at all. So if you’ve been scrolling past every single recipe in this article because you can’t quite handle your spice, here’s your sign to stop and roast your own duck from home.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes. Serves 4 pax.
6. Sichuan Beer Braised Duck
Got extra beer leftover from all those New Year celebrations? Time to repurpose them by trying your hand at our Sichuan Beer Braised Duck.
Beer-braised duck likely emerged as a creative way to infuse traditional Chinese duck dishes with the distinctive flavours of the Sichuan region. In this dish, the beer contributes to the braising liquid, which not just adds more depth to the sauce, but also tenderises the meat. This creates a rich tasting profile, complimenting the duck that’s infused with Sichuan spices.
Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 3-4 pax.
7. Mapo Tofu
Silky cubes of creamy tofu cradled in a spicy, numbing sauce, Mapo Tofu has got to be one of my Sichuan favourites. Just catching a whiff from the kitchen is enough to send my mouth into full-on drooling mode.
What I love about Mapo Tofu also has to do with the texture of the dish, with the softness of the tofu contrasting the chewiness of the ground meat (in this case, we use shrimp, but feel free to use pork or beef too). Plus, the sauce is just superb. The umami richness of the fermented black beans, the depth of flavour from the ginger and the heat from chilli just makes me pile on more tofu to my Xth serving of rice.
And this goodness is all yours to enjoy in just 30 minutes.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes. Serves 3-4 pax.
8. Sichuan Fish With Pickled Mustard Greens
Last on the list, we’ve got a recipe that goes perfectly with rainy weather. A hearty one-pot Sichuan Fish With Pickled Mustard Greens boasts of tender, succulent fish slices swimming in a savoury and tangy broth. And the aroma carries with it whispers of ginger, garlic, and the distinct fragrance of Sichuan peppercorns.
Enjoying this dish together with my family and friends also features the communal experience that we’re all anticipating this Lunar New Year. Gathering around the pot with loved ones, and fishing out tender pieces of meat for your mom, younger sibling, or grandpa — now that’s a way I would like to get my reunion dinner started.
Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes. Serves 3-4 pax.
Lunar New Year Dinner Recipes
You may have noticed some common spices weaving itself through all (or most) of the recipes above, like chilli peppers or peppercorn. These spices are what give Sichuan cuisine its unique flavour, but I promise you that each of these dishes have a distinct taste that sets it apart.
If you’re looking to explore a new type of cuisine this Lunar New Year, I hope this recipe compilation helps to provide a good entry point into Sichuan cuisine. So whether you’re a seasoned cook or kitchen novice, go for it! Pick a dish, pour your heart into perfecting it, and share your creation with family and friends as you usher in the new year.
Wishing you a prosperous Lunar New Year ahead from us at The Meatmen! May your celebrations be filled with tables upon tables of good food, lohei, and catching up with family and friends.
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