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Recipe Description

Most of us think of potatoes as a staple food that goes with meat or vegetable dishes. But in China, it is served as a dish to go with rice. This recipe is from the Sichuan province and is commonly served as an appetiser before the meal. The first time we had it, I couldn’t figure out that it was made with potatoes. It had a familiar taste and yet its texture was fresh and crunchy. It didn’t help that its name was Tu Dou Si, literally earth bean shreds, didn’t ring a bell. It took a few more bites before my wife exclaimed that it was potato, and it suddenly became clear what we were eating. It had never occurred to us that we could cook potatoes this way.

For this recipe, waxy potatoes such as the Yukon gold or the pink-skinned potatoes are recommended because they don’t get fluffy like the Russets do. Also, for the crunchy texture, cook briefly so that the potatoes don’t start to disintegrate. If you have a mandoline that shreds in a square profile rather than a rounded one, then you have your work cut out for you.

Otherwise, I prefer to slice with a mandoline and then shred with a knife making julienne cuts. If you don’t have a mandoline, then you’d just have to slice and julienne into matchsticks by hand. The most important flavouring is the Sichuan peppercorns, which can be a bit strong for those who are not used to it. That’s why I recommend that you discard them after tempering the oil, or it will make the dish too pungent for some people. Dried chillies can also be reduced by half if you are concerned about the level of spiciness. Removing the seeds helps in reducing the heat. You may omit the chicken stock concentrate if you need to keep this dish vegetarian, but I find that it gives the dish an umami punch that lifts the dish.

Although coriander leaves are usually considered garnishes, in this dish it elevates the flavour to a different level so I would not consider it as an optional addition. You may substitute with spring onions, or use both as desired. You’ll find this dish irresistibly addictive.

Recipe Ingredient

  • Ingredients
  • 750g potatoes
  • 2 red chillies, seeded and julienned
  • 2 green chillies, seeded and julienned
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 6 dried chillies, cut into short lengths and seeded
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 15g garlic, minced
  • 15g ginger, minced
  • 1 sprig coriander for garnish
  • Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Peel the potatoes and slice them in a mandoline. Stack the slices and cut with a knife into thin shreds like matchsticks.
  2. Wash off the starch with water, then soak them in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry using a kitchen towel just before cooking.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Add Sichuan peppercorns and fry until fragrant, then remove the peppercorns and discard. In the fragrant oil, fry dried chillies until crispy, then add the sesame seeds to lightly toast in the oil.
  5. Add the minced ginger and garlic, and stir-fry for about 1 minute until fragrant.
  6. Add the shredded potatoes and julienned chillies to the wok and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, mix the seasonings, then pour over the potatoes and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the dish is coated with the sauce.
  8. Remove from heat and transfer the shredded potatoes to a serving plate.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves for added freshness and flavour. Serve the Sichuan shredded potatoes as a side dish or as part of a larger meal.

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