This is substantially cribbed from a James martin recipe I found on BBC Good Food, so I won’t dwell on a full write up. It basically works, is all.
You fry tofu with broccoli and spring onions, some generic sauce ingredients (soy, vinegar, honey, rice wine) plenty of garlic, pak choi, and oodles of sichuan pepper:
What I will dwell on is how awesome sichuan pepper is. Fuchsia Dunlop raves about it in her food memoir, Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper, which is where I came across it first. It has a little heat, sure, but it’s not like western black pepper at all.
It’s peculiar. There’s a tingly, almost numbing feel to it, and a gorgeous spicyness. There’s something citric/metallic in the mix too, and it generally has much more flavour than it feels like a single spice has any right to. In short it’s fucking spiffing, and I’ll be using a lot.
I do think it needs a bit of chilli in support, though, and the sweetness of the honey in the sauce (the recipe says caster sugar, but balls to that) sets it off rather.