Spice up your potatoes with this recipe which includes dried chiles, a little five-spice powder and Szechuan peppercorns. Serve as a side dish or spear with toothpicks and use as an appetizer.
Potatoes Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add boiling water to barely cover. Add salt, cover loosely and return to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, taking care not to cook the potatoes all the way through. Drain and set aside to cool.
Place 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) oil in a large, heavy pot (see Tips, left). Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 375°F (190°C). (If you're using a deep fryer, follow the manufacturer's instructions.)
Divide potatoes into three batches. Pat the first batch dry, then carefully add to hot oil. Fry for just under 2 minutes (if potatoes are very small, 11/2 minutes should do it), until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and keep warm in preheated oven. Let oil return to 375°F (190°C) before adding next batch. Repeat until all potatoes are cooked.
When all the potatoes have been fried, transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle with Szechuan Salt and Pepper and cilantro and toss well. Serve immediately. Tips
This makes a large quantity (about 1 cup/250 mL) of Szechuan Salt and Pepper, but this spice mixture is great to have on hand for many things. Try it rubbed into shrimp or sprinkled over whole chicken or pork ribs. Look for Szechuan peppercorns in Asian supermarkets or specialty food shops.
If you prefer, parboil the potatoes (Step 2) up to one day ahead. Refrigerate until ready to use.