So the concept of “salad” really comes from the western world: some kind of veggies, nuts, meat or cheese and salad dressings. A simple combination of a few or a lot of healthy and tasty things. So what is it like in China? We can pretty much sum it up to 2 types of dishes: the cold and the warm. Although the cold dishes are cold, it’s highly likely that they are cooked first, then cooled later. But there’re always some exceptions, such as row fresh water shrimps or crabs passed out in Chinese rice liquor. My grandpa has told me a horrible story when I was little. He had living baby rats in Chinese rice liquor once. The rat would scream when he bites it. I still don’t know if it was a joke or for real.
The cold dishes are usually served as entries at dinner parties, snacks between meals or in late evenings with some alcoholic drinks. They suppose to give you the Appetit for more and light enough not to make you full. Today’s recipe is one of those.
A great salad is all about fresh ingredients & a flavorful salad dressing. It’s the same here! The chilli sauce dressing is the key to this Sichuan salad. It takes hours to make with tonnes of ingredients. A rich chicken stock mixed up with lots of spices & sauces, even peanut butter & sesame paste. I was also surprised myself when I saw peanut butter on the list, but trust me it does give this chilli sauce an extra nutty flavour. Something great about this sauce, you can always add more or less chilli oil at the end to fit your taste.
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By the way, my favourite cold dish is also one from Sichuan province, “fu qi fei pian” which means the rest from a couple.