For several years, gai bo (“chicken pot”) was all the rage at Hong Kong hotpot restaurants. It starts life as one dish – chopped up, bone-in chicken pieces with a thick, complex sauce seasoned with lots of spices that you might not normally associate with Chinese food, but it ends up as something else. After most of the meat has been eaten, hot broth is stirred into the sauce remaining in the pot, which is then used to poach raw ingredients.
This Sichuan peppercorn spice rub offers an unusual but delicious variation to the usual leg of lamb. The meat goes very well with spring onion pancakes or naan, but, if you don't feel like making those, serve it with cumin-flecked rice pilaf.
Sichuan cold noodles make for a fast, easy meal, especially if you prepare the sauce in advance. The amount of sauce in this recipe is enough for two servings, but I often make a triple batch and store the leftovers in the fridge.
For years, the most potent peppercorns had to be smuggled into the States. Here's why they continue to be hard to obtain.