"The three best cuisines in the world are Chinese, Chinese and Chinese," or so claims the late, great James Beard.
Chengdu, the capital of the Szechuan Province and a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, is world-renowned for its spicy cuisine and culinary innovation (plus those cute giant pandas). And, while at first glance, Szechuan, one of China's eight regional cuisines, might seem to rely exclusively on hot and spicy notes, Chengdu’s 200+ Masters Chefs are skilled at nuance, coaxing out layered flavors with a finely tuned balance of the fiery Szechuan peppercorn.
While mapo tofu, dandan noodles and hot pot are staples of the traditional cuisine, perhaps the best known of Chengdu's dishes is Kung Pao chicken. Hot oil is infused with a variety of chilis, including mala, the famous Szechuan peppercorn. A contraction of two Chinese characters – Ma 麻 and La 辣 meaning numbing and spicy, Mala is aptly named. From there, Kung Pao gets a serious dose of peanuts, garlic, ginger and a few other aromatics, along with chicken marinated in a fermented rice wine, adding a level of savory umami. Delicious, but oh-so time consuming.
oo’mämē to the rescue!
Fermented black beans are an oft-found player in Szechuan dishes. Also known as douchi, 豆豉 in Chinese, they are made from salting and fermenting black soybeans (or sometimes a lighter-colored soybean that darkens as it ferments) and have roots dating back 2200 years. Essential to mapo tofu, fermented black beans bring the salt, funk and umami, the Fifth Taste, to many dishes and are usually paired with other assertive flavors, like garlic, mala peppercorns and ginger. They bring the POW to an oo’mämē Kung Pao, creating bursts of flavor and an adventure in every bite.
Here are just a few ways you can zhuzh up leftovers and let oo’mämē do some heavy lifting in the kitchen. #CondimentRevolution
Fried Rice + oo’mämē
Chinese Leftover CPR
Chinese Shrimp Salad
...as we journey to places, cultures and cuisines, we celebrate with our oo’mämē Global Chile Crisp Collection.