Sichuan-style hot & sour shredded potatoes is a classic appetizer that’s slightly crunchy and very addicting! The best part: it can all be done in 30 minutes.
According to my dad, this dish is known to be a knife-skill test for Chinese chefs, and it’s great knife-skills practice when you’re making it at home. The potatoes need to be sliced as evenly as possible to ensure they cook at the same time; they should also be thin, like shoestring fries. No wonder some people call this dish “Chinese French fries!"
What's the key ingredient for Sichuan-style hot & sour shredded potatoes?
The key ingredient for this dish is rice vinegar! I’m using Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar to both soak the potatoes in to prevent starch breakdown, and to provide the delicious sour and slightly sweet notes to this dish. (Thank you Mizkan for sponsoring this post -- I love their products, and you can shop for them here!)
How do you get the classic crunchy texture for Sichuan-style hot & shredded potatoes?
If you've had this dish before, you know that each potato is cooked through, but they have a satisfying bite and crunch. The enemy to this crunchy texture is starch. When you have excess starch in the potatoes, or when the starch breaks down, the texture of the potato softens. Follow these important steps to achieve the perfect texture for these potatoes:
Thoroughly wash and then soak the sliced potatoes
This step removes any excess starch. You can also start with potatoes that are less starch, like red or white potatoes. I used russet because I always have these on hand, and they still turned out great despite being starchier to begin with. Just make sure to follow these steps!
Add vinegar to the soaking potatoes
Vinegar prevents the pectin in potatoes from breaking down too quickly! If you stir-fry potatoes without having added vinegar, you'll notice that they'll soften quickly after a few minutes. This added vinegar keeps them crunchy for longer, even through cooking.
Sichuan-style Hot & Sour Shredded Potatoes
- 1 lb potatoes (I'm using russet, but white and red potatoes have less starch and work great as well)
- 3.5-5 tablespoon Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar (2 Tbsp. for soaking + 1.5-2 Tbsp. for seasoning potatoes)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon mushroom or chicken bouillon powder (optional)
- ¼ bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3-4 dried red chilis
- ½ tablespoon red Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
- 3 tablespoon neutral oil (avocado, vegetable, canola, etc.)
Prepare the ingredients
- Peel the potatoes. Slice as evenly as possible into ⅛-inch layers (or use a mandolin), then slice into ⅛ inch matchsticks.1 lb potatoes
- To remove excess starch, wash the potatoes in a bowl of water until the water runs clear. Once water runs clear, submerge potatoes in a large bowl of water with 2 Tbsp. of rice vinegar.3.5-5 tablespoon Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar
- While that sits, prepare the aromatics: thinly slice garlic. Then thinly slice bell peppers and scallions into ⅛ matchsticks like the potatoes. Remove seeds from dried chilis if desired.¼ bell pepper, 3 cloves garlic, scallions, 3-4 dried red chilis
- Drain the potatoes and let them sit in a sieve or colander to get rid of any excess water.
Stir-fry the potatoes
- Heat up a pan to medium heat and add 2-3 Tbsp. of neutral oil, followed by the red Sichuan peppercorns, if using.½ tablespoon red Sichuan peppercorns
- Once oil is hot, add the sliced garlic and dried chilis and stir fry for 1-2 min or until fragrant. Add the potatoes and stir fry for 2-3 min or until slightly translucent. Add the bell peppers, scallions, and seasonings: salt, sugar, mushroom or chicken bouillon, and 1.5-2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (adjust to your taste preference).1 lb potatoes, 3.5-5 tablespoon Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon mushroom or chicken bouillon powder, ¼ bell pepper, 3 cloves garlic, 3-4 dried red chilis, scallions, 3 tablespoon neutral oil
- Keep stir frying for another 3-5 min or until potatoes are just slightly crunchy (longer if you prefer softer potatoes). Enjoy!