4 cloves garlic (minced; 4 cloves = about 15g)
3 thin slices ginger (minced; 3 thin slices = about 8g)
2 scallions (chopped, with the green and white parts separated)
3 Thai chilies (chopped)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar (or to taste)
2 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1/2-1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped; or to taste)
In a large heat-proof bowl, arrange the minced garlic, minced ginger, the white parts of the chopped scallion, and chopped Thai chilies so they are adjacent to each other at the bottom of the bowl (don’t messily pile them all on top of each other).
Now infuse the Sichuan peppercorns in oil. In a small pot, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil with the Sichuan peppercorns over low heat until fragrant, taking care not to burn the peppercorns.
After about 10 minutes, remove the peppercorns using a fine meshed strainer or slotted spoon. Heat the infused oil just until it begins to smoke. Pour it carefully over the arranged aromatics in the bowl. It will bubble and sizzle! Carefully stir to evenly distribute the heat.
Now add in the sugar, vinegar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt and five spice powder. Mix well.
Finally add in the green parts of the chopped scallion and the cilantro. (If pre-making the sauce, leave these last ingredients out and add them right before serving.)
This all-purpose Chinese Cold “salad” dressing is ready to add flavor to blanched or steamed vegetables, tofu, seaweed, noodles, etc. With this sauce, you can make a variety of refreshing, cooling dishes during the warmer months, and use it for anything you have on hand.
Simply blanch or steam some vegetables, say: carrots, celery, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, string beans, even mushrooms. You could also include some traditional Chinese add-ins like tofu, seitan, five-spiced tofu, bean threads, seaweed, wood ears, noodles, etc.
This dressing will make your dinner planning that much easier. Make double, triple or quadruple this recipe and keep it refrigerated to be used throughout the week.