Sichuan Province, located in southwestern China, is large, diverse, and rich in resources. Many mountains and rivers cross its territory. The climate is warm and humid. Sichuan cuisine can be traced back more than 2,000 years, although its recognition as a distinct regional cuisine took place during the Song Dynasty (420 – 478 A.D.) In English speaking countries, the writing Szechuan is often used. Sichuan dishes are rich and spicy, often including Sichuan peppercorns, brown bean chili sauce, prickly ash, ginger, garlic, and flavorful oils and spices. Commonly used cooking techniques include steaming, stir-frying and dry braising. Famous Sichuan dishes include Chongqing Chicken, Zhang Tea Duck, and Ma Po Tofu. The proximity of India has influenced cooking as well. Cumin is used in a variety of dishes, e.g. Chengdu barbecue lamb.
Sichuan peppers. Credit: David Hagerman