Having been totally fascinated by Chinese cooking for some time - I feel I'm getting the hang of it a bit. The key is to recognise that China is a huge place - and thus it's time to get regional (which is about the same as saying that Irish and Italian food are actually different!)
Any dish called 'Sichuan' in a typical british Chinese quite simply isn't. Buy the brilliant Sichuan Cookbook by Fuchia Dunlop and read all about it. It's not difficult - but a good Asian supermarket is a boost for a few key ingredients.
One dish that always stands out in any examination of Sichuan cooking is Ma Po Tofu. It's the dish that awoke my senses to how good fresh Tofu is. A creamy Tofu, with braised minced pork belly, served in a lip tingling Sichuan pepper sauce. Awesome. If you've never experienced the delight of 'proper' Sichuan pepper - it's pungent fragrant flavour and the slow lip and tongue numbing affect are superb. Hunt it out......
Anyway - this recipe was from the great Rasa Malaysia blog. Thanks.
Some key ingredients....(The Sichuan pepper corns are direct from China - 'cos I'm very lucky).
A little side dish - Pak Choi with Oyster sauce