Following is an adaptation on the versatile tu dou si—spicy shredded potatoes. Much of the pleasure of Chinese peasant cooking is its adaptability. My recipe uses a lid to partially steam the potatoes, thereby reducing the amount of oil. The chef is encouraged to make further changes according to individual preferences and availability of ingredients.
- 3 medium potatoes, julienned
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger root
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 or 2 small chili peppers, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (both white and green portions)
- 2 carrots, julienned (optional)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (optional)
- dash of rice wine vinegar
- While preparing other ingredients, soak the potato slivers in a bowl of water to remove the starch.
- Pour grapeseed and sesame oil into a wok. Add ginger, garlic, salt and chili pepper. (Sliced peppers are preferable to powder or flakes—you can always eat around or remove the pieces later.) Add white part of scallion and (optional) onion. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.
- To avoid splatter, drain the potatoes well and place in the hot oil. If using carrots, add them at this time.
- Stir fry for 2 minutes over medium heat, then reduce heat to low.
- Cover the wok and allow mixture to steam cook for 1 minute over low heat. Remove lid, stir for 1 minute, then replace lid. Alternate between stirring and covering mixture until the potatoes are cooked through but remain crunchy. Be sure not to overcook the potatoes; they should retain a bite.
- Toss in thinly sliced green scallions.
- Traditionally served over a bowl of rice with accompanying dishes. Sprinkle a little rice wine vinegar to finish.
Optional serving: Tu dou si also can be wrapped in an egg-flour pancake, Tujia style.