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Monday, June 07, 2010

Sichuan/Szechwan Celery Salad

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 1

This Sichuan celery salad is my riff off of the complimentary appetizers I'd get while dining at Bamboodles Restaurant - San Gabriel and Luscious Dumplings, Inc. - San Gabriel. I've omitted pressed tofu and tofu noodles from my version, but feel free to add them if you wish. I think celery is great for offsetting the heavy feeling after eating carbs like dumplings and noodles, or fatty meats.

The key is to blanch the celery, just enough to soften its harsh edges while retaining its tender-crisp crunch. You can omit the Sichuan peppercorns, but I find its numbing spiciness a welcome contrast to the blandness of the celery. Toss with a dressing of vinegar and sesame oil. Sometimes, during hot weather, I crave this salad as a meal because it doesn't leave me feeling too weighed down.

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 2

Sichuan/Szechwan Celery Salad

For 2 servings as a meal or 4 servings as a side dish, you'll need:

6 to 8 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 red jalapeno, sliced
1 to 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, depending on your spicy tolerance

For the dressing, you'll need:
2 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 to 2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1/4 tsp salt

Get a pot of water to boiling while you cut the celery and herbs.

You can cut the celery into uniform pieces, but I like to cut my celery by rotating it in quarter turns and making 1-inch cuts. The celery pieces are still somewhat the same size, but are more interesting in appearance this way.

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 3

See how I just rotate the celery a little bit while making cuts?

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 4

Just a quarter rotation and slice again.

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 5

Keep going.

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 6

Include the leaves too.

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 7

When the water boils, add the celery and let it blanch for only a minute or two until tender-crisp. You want the celery to just soften, but retain its crunch.

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 8

Dump the celery in a bowl and add the chopped cilantro, jalapeno, 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, 2 tblsp soy sauce, 1 tblsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 9

Toss and serve warm, or refrigerate for about 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. The celery salad can keep for several days in the fridge and still retain its crunch.

Sichuan Szechwan Celery Salad 10


Other celery salads:

1 year ago today, green tomatoes in my garden.
2 years ago today, I wondered, are you a Vietnamese blogger?
3 years ago today, frozen yogurt at Pinkberry - Rancho Cucamonga.


  1. Oh! This is going to be on my supper table for sure! Celery is good, and usually quite cheap, and this adds a layer of flavor that one note celery needs to really sparkle.

  2. Biki,
    I find that celery is as polarizing as cilantro. Who knew? I love it. If you can't find Sichuan peppercorns, I would just use dried chili flakes.


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