Most Popular Sichuan Appetizer
Peppery, Crisp, Sour and Sweet
“This dish is peppery, crisp, sour and sweet.” — Ou Chien-kung
Sichuan Style Peppery Cabbage or La Bai Cai 辣白菜 is probably the most popular Sichuan appetizer. — It’s often served in Sichuan restaurants as an appetizer without even being ordered, along with cold Sesame Noodles and Sichuan style Peanuts.
There are many recipes. This one came from a standard Chinese cooks’ reference. It is listed in the No. 1 position under Cold Appetizers in the section on Sichuan dishes.
La Bai Cai 辣白菜
Chinese – Sichuan
5 ounces Tientsin Cabbage or Celery Cabbage
2 ounces Sugar, about 3 tablespoons
¼ teaspoon Sesame Oil
2 ounces Vinegar, about 4 tablespoons
¼ teaspoon powdered Sichuan Pepper
4 dried Cayenne Peppers, shredded finely
2 inches shredded Ginger
¼ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon powdered Cayenne Pepper
First, wash the Cabbage clean and tear in strips or cut horizontally; then soak in salty water for 2 hours.
Remove the Cabbage and press out all liquid. Place in a dish and cover with shredded Ginger and shredded Cayenne Peppers.
Heat together the Sesame Oil, ground Cayenne Pepper, and Sichuan Pepper, then sprinkle on top of Cabbage.
Add Sugar and Vinegar and using the top of a pot, press for a few minutes to squeze out excess liquid and serve.
This dish is peppery, crisp, sour and sweet. The color is white streaked with red and it is suitable for all seasons.
For Further Information:
Ou, Chien-kung, Chung-kuo ming-ts’ai ta-ch’uan (Hong Kong: Wanli Publishing Co., numerous editions).