Spicy Mushroom Stir-Fry
Hua jun, or "slippery mushrooms," are foraged in the forests of Sichuan's Bamboo Sea, but in cities and in the U.S., similar nameko or beech mushrooms are close substitutes. This dish combines the mushrooms with petite, spicy xiao mi chiles, as well as some potato starch, which gives the dish a silky texture. Xiao mi chiles can be found in Chinese markets or online at The Mala Market, but it can be a little tricky to identify them in English, as translations vary. Dried Thai or arbol chiles make a decent substitution.
- Small Bowl
- Serving Plate
Spicy Mushroom Stir-Fry
Hua jun, or "slippery mushrooms," from Sichuan’s Bamboo Sea are tossed into a hot wok with three types of chiles here: sweet bell peppers, tangy pickled red chiles, and a fiery local variety called xiao mi. Yield: serves 4 Time: 15 minutes
- 1 tsp. potato starch
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 4–5 dried xiao mi chiles, or substitute Thai or arbol, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (1 Tbsp.)
- 1 Tbsp. pickled ginger, thinly sliced, plus 1 Tbsp. of the pickling liquid
- 4–5 small, pickled red chiles, coarsely chopped (1 Tbsp.), plus 1 Tbsp. of the pickling liquid
- 2 large scallions, pale-green and white parts only, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small green bell pepper (4 oz.), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 small red bell pepper (4 oz.), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 cups (5½ oz.) hua jun (slippery mushrooms), or substitute nameko or beech mushrooms
- Kosher salt
- In a small bowl, add the potato starch and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cold water; stir well to combine. Set the mixture aside.
- In a wok over very high heat, add the oil, and swirl the pan to coat its surface. When the oil is smoking, add the chiles and cook, stirring constantly, until they are fragrant and darkened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, pickled ginger, and pickled chiles (but not their liquids), scallions, and green and red bell peppers, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and continue stir-frying until they are browned and tender, 2–3 minutes. Pour in the potato starch mixture, and let cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the reserved pickling liquids.
- Taste and add salt as needed. Transfer to a serving plate, and serve hot.
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