This stir-fry makes a welcome change from roasted, fried, baked or mashed potatoes – the starchiness of the potato is a great foil for the bold flavours of chilli and salted black beans. The chilli sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- 1½ tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp each malt vinegar and brown sugar
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 3 long red chillies, seeded, halved
- 3 small potatoes (about 650 g) peeled, halved, cut into 5 mm-thick slices
- 3 Asian red eschalots, cut into eighths
- 2 tbsp shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
- 2 tsp salted black beans (see Note)
- 1 pinch ground Sichuan pepper (see Note) and salt (optional)
- 8 long red chillies, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 15 cm-piece ginger, roughly chopped
- 125 ml (½ cup) peanut oil
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the chilli sauce, process chillies, garlic and ginger in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in a wok over high heat until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Reduce heat to medium, add chilli paste and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 minutes to cook out flavours. Add sugar and stir for 1 minute so sauce doesn’t catch on base of wok. Stir in soy, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until sauce darkens in colour and oil begins to leach out. Makes 1 cup.
Combine 2 tablespoons of chilli sauce, soy, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and set aside. Reserve remaining chilli sauce for another use. Wipe wok clean.
Heat peanut oil in cleaned hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add halved chillies and cook for 30 seconds each side or until 'blistered’ and slightly blackened. Using tongs, remove chillies and drain on paper towel. Reserve wok and oil.
Add potatoes to reserved wok and cook for 2 minutes each side or until light golden. Add eschalots and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until slightly softened. Add shaoxing and cook for 10 seconds, then add black beans and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to make sure beans don’t burn. Add chilli sauce mixture and cook for 3 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Transfer to a plate, top with blistered chillies and Sichuan pepper and salt, if using.
• Black beans, also known as fermented black beans are from Asian food shops.
• Sichuan peppercorns are available from selected delis and Asian food shops.