Okay, I didn’t mean it literally. Although, if you have recently added some spiciness in your life, good for you! 😉 For the rest of us, the kick in Szechuan dishes is quite enough.
Traditionally, and typically found in Szechuan Chinese restaurants, cumin “meat” dishes are full of heat and numbness. The numbness that I’m speaking of here comes from Szechuan peppercorns, a mouthful of those babies could probably get you through your wisdom teeth extraction. Who knows, maybe give you a spice-induced high while you’re at it? The meat can be chicken, beef, pork, or lamb, although the last one is the most popular and pairs best with cumin. All the flavors explode on your palate all at the same time, competing for dominance. Best to have lots of water and rice on hand, as well as some “neutral” dishes such as simple greens. I added broccoli for the color and also for nutrition. Gotta eat your vegetables. 😀
(makes 4 ravenous people [Ian] servings or 6 normal people servings :))
1 lb pork tenderloin (you could easily substitute beef, chicken, lamb, or even firm tofu)
2 Tbsp. corn starch
2 Tbsp. Szechuan peppercorns
3 Tbsp. cumin seeds, or 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
Note: See how all the spice is in tablespoons? Not for the faint of heart. On the other hand, don’t be scared either. 😛
3 Tbsp. oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. ginger, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine
1 large onion, diced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets (again, you can substitute any vegetable or omit)
1 Tbsp. cumin, ground (optional, for the extra kick)
1 Tbsp. chili sauce, with oil (老干妈 “Old Grandma” brand preferably)
Salt to taste
Cut meat into very thin slices, about 1/8 of an inch. This is most easily done when the meat is still semi-frozen.
Put all spices, except for the chili sauce and the optional cumin, into a pan. Toast on medium high for about 2 minutes, until you smell the aroma. (be careful, you may have a sneeze attack due to the chili pepper, no joke) Ground the toasted spices, I used mortar and pestle.
Rub the ground spices and corn starch into the meat slices until evenly distributed. Put it into the fridge and forget about it, 3 hours or more.
Heat the oil until hot, sweat the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the meat, soy sauce, and rice wine. Stir fry the meat on medium high heat until cooked, about 6-7 minutes. Season to taste and place on a plate. Add the onions and broccoli to still hot wok or pan. Stir fry until cooked through but still crisp tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the meat back to the wok, along with the chili sauce and extra ground cumin. Mix well and heat through.