Dry Pot Chicken (Gan Guo Ji)
"Dry pot" is a cooking method that comes from the very popular hot-pot meals where everyone selects their own ingredients to cook in a spicy communal broth. Dry-pot cooking often takes the same ingredients and spices but uses a stir-fry technique to cook them.
Equipment: Parchment paper, spice grinder or mortar and pestle
Tips: Dried tofu skin: Chewy tofu skin is made from the layer of solids that forms on top of heated soymilk (think pudding skin). It is sold dried in sheets and must be rehydrated to use.
Shaoxing rice wine: A key ingredient for adding depth of flavor to Chinese sauces and soups. It is similar in flavor to sherry, but contains salt and sugar for added punch.
Sichuan peppercorns: Sichuan peppercorns (a member of the citrus family and unrelated to black peppercorns) have a citrusy aroma and supply the numbing half of the signature flavor of Sichuan food.
Pixian chili bean paste (doubanjiang): A salty and spicy umami concentrate made with chiles and fermented fava beans, the paste gives deep flavor to braises, soups and stir-fries. It is sometimes labeled "broad bean" chili paste.
Sichuan chile flakes: Whole dried chiles that have been fried until crisp and ground into a mix of flakes, powder and seeds. Korean pepper powder, available at Korean markets and online, is a good substitute.