Inspird by a dish we enjoyed at a restaurant in Osaka, this Sichuan stir fried potatoes has a bit of heat, plenty of crunch and a ton of flavors. A great side dish!
But… A Sichuan restaurant in Osaka? Yes. Just because Osaka is in Japan doen’t mean there’s only Japanese food to be had there. If course we had our fill of Japanese food but there was this restaurant that… Well, let me just say that the first time I saw the tarps and lighted signs, I knew we weren’t going to leave Osaka without eating there.
The truth is, we never even discovered the name of the restaurant. There was no English name on the facade. Even the menu was mostly in Chinese. To find the restaurant, by the way, if you should visit Osaka — look for HG Cozy Hotel No. 35 on Google Maps and the restaurant is on the ground floor.
But, anyway… So, we went to the restaurant one evening after a day of walking and shopping. We were already tired and I really just wanted to take my jacket and boots off. Take out was the best option.
We entered the restaurant, the nice lady who helped us when we were having problems getting in touch with the staff of HG Cozy Hotel No. 35 greeted us with a big smile (when she smiled, her eyes did too). For take-out, we said, and we wanted one seafood dish, one vegetable dish and another with meat in it.
But I wasn’t so good at making myself understood. So, I took out my phone, went to Google Translate and typed “fish”. The translation came out as “yu”.
“Ahhh, yu,” said the nice lady. And she pointed every item on the menu with fish. We chose a fish soup.
There was a pork ang eggplant dish that looked truly delectable and we ordered that too. And when Google Translate was no longer enough, like she did on the previous occasion, she asked a customer — a charming young lady — to lend a hand. And it was the charming young lady who recommended the stir fried potatoes with a thumbs-up.
It would take some twenty minutes to get the food ready so we took te elevator to the apartment and Speedy went down a little later to pick up the food.
Everything was delicious. So delicious that I vowed we would make our version of each dish at home.
Our favorite was the fish soup. You can’t see it in the photo but underneath all that succulent fillets is a heap of pickled mustard. Truly lovely. We have made the fish soup at home but I’ll start with the simplest. Well, what appears to be the simplest.
The potato dish may look like a simple stir fry with julienned potatoes, chilies and scallions, but the cooking technique is a bit challenging. The potatoes must be stir fried until cooked through but still crisp. Not easy when cooking with a vegetable that contains a lot of starch. But thanks to two reliable blogs, we were able to make Sichuan stir fried potatoes at home.
Sichuan Stir Fried Potatoes
- 3 large potatoes
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns (see notes after the recipe)
- 2 red chilies (plus more for garnish) sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons black vinegar (see notes after the recipe)
- sliced scallions to garnish
- toasted sesame seeds to garnish
- Peel the potatoes and julienne.
- Dump the julienned potatoes in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the potatoes to expel starch. Drain well.
- Heat the cooking oils in a wok or frying pan.
- Before the oil starts to smoke, fry the Sichuan peppercorns and chilies.
- When the oil is smoking, add the garlic and chilies. Stir fry for about half a minute. Make sure to keep the contents of the wok or frying pan moving to avoid burning the garlic.
- Pour in the soy sauce and stir in the sugar.
- Pour in two tablespoons water. Stir.
- Add the potatoes and stir fry until the potatoes are coated with oil and sauce.
- Cover the wok or frying pan tightly for half a minute without turning down the heat.
- Uncover the wok or frying pan, drizzle in the black vingear and stir the potatoes thoroughly.
- Tip the contents of the wok into a serving plate.
- Garnish the Sichuan stir fried potatoes with sliced chilies, scallions and sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately.