Sichuan pepper isn't a pepper, but rather a relative of citrus. Most apparent in its flavour is the numbing sensation it gives the tongue, but in the same way that chilli is more about flavour than heat, the real benefit of Sichuan pepper is its unique citrus tang.
1 small bunch gai lan
¼ cup vegetable oil
300g squid, cleaned and scored, cut into 5cm pieces
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
6 spring onions, cut into 5cm pieces
500g thick fresh egg noodles
chilli oil, to serve (optional)
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp kecap manis
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
½ tsp sugar
1 cup chicken stock, or water
1. Place the Sichuan and black peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the pan to toast the peppercorns for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and grind to a coarse powder. Combine with remaining sauce ingredients.
2. Prepare the gai lan by washing well and cutting into 5cm pieces, discarding any yellowing leaves and splitting thick stalks in half lengthways.
3. Heat a wok until it is very hot and add the oil around the edges so it coats the sides and runs into the bottom of the wok. Add the squid and toss for about a minute. Then add the garlic, gai lan and spring onions and toss for a further two minutes, until the vegetables soften and the squid is nearly cooked through. Add the noodles and the sauce and stir to combine. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the noodles are softened. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve with chilli oil (if using).
Also try: Adam Liaw's all-things-nice yoghurt