This Sichuan potato stir-fry is a satisfyingly spicy, sour, and crunchy dish. It only requires a few ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to prepare!
Potatoes have been part of Chinese cuisine for many centuries. In recent times, potatoes have become more popular as potato production in China has increased exponentially. This Sichuan potato stir-fry (also known as 酸辣土豆丝, suan la tu dou si) has become a popular home-style side dish in Sichuan, similar to Chinese tomato and eggs, as it is quick and easy to prepare. These stir fried potatoes are a great dish for any time of day.
Sichuan stir fried potatoes have the typical Sichuan flavor profile: numbing and spicy. However, this stir fried shredded potato dish retains a crisp texture after cooking, unlike western-style dishes which look for potatoes with soft fluffy interiors and/or crispy exteriors.
- Which type of potato should be used for stir frying? Potatoes with a lower starch content (red and white potatoes) will yield a crispier and crunchier texture, which is what is often sought after for this dish. However, you can also experiment with using other potato types such as russet and Yukon gold potatoes.
- Soaking the potatoes in water serves a few purposes. It not only prevents the potatoes from oxidizing but also removes excess starch. Removing the excess starch allows the potatoes to stay crisp even after stir-frying. Some people even add a dash of vinegar to the soaking water, which further increases the crispness and decreases the chance of the potatoes from turning soft/mushy.
- You can substitute the 1 tablespoon of oil and 1.5 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns with 1 tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorn oil.
- I like to use rice vinegar and salt in my tu dou si recipe so that the potatoes retain a nice, light color. However, you can also use Chinese black vinegar and soy sauce to season the potatoes. Keep in mind that makes the final dish darker.
Tips and Tricks
- Cutting the potatoes: Try to cut the potatoes into evenly sized shreds so that they all finish cooking at the same time. Ideally, you should cut the potatoes as thin as possible, but that is not completely necessary. The potato will just take longer to cook through. Scroll down to see how to julienne thinly by hand in the step-by-step picture instructions above.
- Sichuan peppercorns can burn easily, so make sure to keep an eye on them while they are cooking to prevent them from turning bitter.
- You can optionally add a few slices of bell pepper to the dish for added freshness, crunch, and color.
Sichuan Potato Stir-Fry (酸辣土豆丝)
- 2 potatoes (about 500 grams)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1.5 tsp Sichuan peppercorns adjust to taste, Note 1
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 dried chilis or use chili flakes, Note 2
- 1/2 tsp salt adjust to taste
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- scallions for garnish
- Thinly julienne the potatoes by hand or with a mandolin slicer. Let the potatoes sit in a bowl of water while the other ingredients are prepared.
- Mince the garlic, slice (and optionally deseed) the chilis, and julienne the scallion.
- Heat the oil in a wok or large pan over medium heat. Add in the Sichuan peppercorns and chili. Fry them until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the ingredients.
- Remove the Sichuan peppercorns and chilis from the wok/pan. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant.
- Drain the julienned potatoes and add them to the wok/pan. Stir fry until the potatoes are nice and tender, but still crisp.
- Mix in the salt, vinegar, sesame oil, and scallions and turn off the heat. You can optionally mix in the peppercorns and chilis rom the beginning as well.
- If using premade Sichuan peppercorn oil, use about a tablespoon in place of the whole peppercorns.
- You can substitute the dried chilis for about 1/2 to 1 tsp of dried chili flakes. Add the chili flakes at the end with the salt, vinegar, etc. to prevent the flakes from burning.
How to Make Sichuan Potato Stir-Fry
Julienne the Potatoes
Chinese people like to julienne their ingredients by hand. To julienne evenly and efficiently, first cut the potato into thin slices. Then, arrange the potato slices into a line, slightly overlapping each other. Finally, cut the potato slices into thin strips. See the pictures below for reference.
Then, place the potatoes into a bowl with water to remove excess starch and make the final dish crispier.
Begin by heating a wok or any other pan/skillet over medium heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and chilis in and fry them until fragrant, about one minute. Make sure not to cook either the peppercorns or chilis too long, or else they will turn bitter. You can also fry the chili in one tablespoon of already made Sichuan peppercorn oil instead.
Remove the Sichuan peppercorns from the oil. If you want the peppercorns in your final dish, feel free to add them back in at the end.
Add the garlic and dried chilis (not shown in picture above), and cook until fragrant. Then, drain the julienned potatoes. Add the drained potatoes and salt into your wok/pan. Stir fry until the potatoes are nice and tender but still crisp.
Turn off the heat and mix in the vinegar, sesame oil, and scallions. The vinegar and sesame oil will have a more pronounced flavor if added after cooking.
Serve and enjoy this unique Chinese potato dish!