The name comes from the pounding of chicken sold by street vendors in Sichuan. This version doesn't go to such lengths, but the distinctive flavour remains. It is sometimes called strange-flavour chicken, after the unique combination of flavours used to dress this salad. The secret to the success of the dressing is the house-made chilli oil (see note).
Note Chinkiang black vinegar, Sichuan pepper oil and Chinese roasted sesame paste are available from Asian grocers. Chilli oil is a key ingredient in many of these recipes. Although it's readily bought, the chefs at Dainty Sichuan make their own by frying 50gm coarsely chopped dried chillies with a little vegetable oil until fragrant. Blend with 500ml vegetable oil, steep for 24 hours, strain and it's ready.
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