We had ordered this potato dish at a Sichuan restaurant a couple months back and I knew I’d be making this at home shortly after. When you think of Chinese food, you hardly think of potatoes. And when you think of potatoes, you hardly think of a dish that isn’t heavy. This is a great take on potatoes; try it if you’re tired of mashed, baked or french-fried variations.
For this dish, the potatoes are cut to the size of matchsticks, soaked in salted water then stir fried with peppercorns, dried red chilies, sugar and vinegar, giving it a sweet, salty and spicy flavor. The process of soaking the potatoes in salty water prevents it from turning color, and the salt removes the excess starch from the root vegetable. The texture should be slightly crunchy like a very al dente pasta. If you don’t have peppercorns or red chilies, use a chili sauce like I have.
Sichuan Stir Fried Potatoes with Vinegar (serves 2-4)
3 medium size potatoes, cut into matchsticks
2 tsp. cooking oil
3 dried red chilies (or substitute 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce)
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. sugar
3 tsp. black vinegar (use Chinkiang vinegar if possible)
Salt to taste
1) Peel the potatoes and cut into matchsticks. Place matchsticks in a large bowl of cold, salted water (I put around 1 tsp. of salt into the water) and soak (at least 10 minutes). Drain well.
2) In a wok on medium high heat, add oil, chilies (or hot sauce), and peppercorns. Heat until peppercorns are sizzling; add potatoes. Stir fry for around 4 minutes, add sugar and vinegar. Stir fry until al dente, add salt to taste. Serve hot.
To cut the potatoes into matchsticks, first cut the potato in half on the longest side.
Then cut the potato vertically into the thinnest strips you possibly can.
THEN cut those strips into matchsticks into the thinnest strips you possibly can. Leave them long like noodles.
Place matchsticks into a bowl of salty water. Soak for at least 10 minutes. Then drain them well.
See how the potatoes don’t lose their bright white color?
If you don’t like whole peppercorns, you can use ground pepper, or omit it entirely.
In a wok on medium high heat, combine oil, chilies (in my case, Sriracha hot sauce) and peppercorns. Cook until pepper is sizzling; add potatoes. Stir fry for about 4 minutes, then add sugar and vinegar.
If you can find Chinkiang vinegar, great. If you forget which kind of vinegar it is by the time you arrive to the store, don’t worry (cuz I did).
Stir fry until potatoes are al dente, then add salt to taste.
Serve hot and enjoy.