One of our all time favorite dishes was at Chicago’s Lao Sze Chuan, a classic restaurant that serves up hella ma la and more. Their Famous Empress Crab with Dry Chili – Dungeness crab covered in mind- and mouth-numbing peppercorns – continues to beckon for a return visit.
In the meantime, we’ve dreamt up our own Szechuan Chili Oil Powder, infusing the hot layered flavors of the peppercorns into a neutral oil and turning it into aromatic atomic snow. Sprinkle this bold orange powder lightly or liberally onto any dish to call to mind your favorite spicy plate.
Mince garlic, ginger, onions, and slice scallions. Place them into a pan with 2 Tbsp (24g) of oil.
Cook over low heat until golden and fragrant.
Add Szechuan peppercorns and toast for another minute.
Add chili flakes, remove from heat, and cool.
Place the cooled mixture and remaining oil in a whipping siphon. Charge with one N2O charger. Let sit for an hour. Release the pressure, strain through a fine sieve and reserve the toasted chili mixture for any dish that needs a kick.
Measure out 24g (2 Tbsp) of chili oil and reserve the rest for future use.
Whisk the N-Zorbit M together with the 24g of chili oil, or put the N-Zorbit M into a food processor and pour chili oil directly on the top. Process for 10 seconds.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process for another 10 seconds.
For a fine snow, pass the powder through a sieve or 400 micron Superbag. Pass through one spoonful at a timeand press it against the side with a bowl scraper or a silicon spatula.