Sweet and Sour Potatoes (Tang Cu Tudou Si)
Stir-fried shredded potatoes are a popular dish in homes and restaurants all over Beijing. While most versions are salty and spicy, this one, shared with us by Beijing home cook Zhao Xiaobo, gets its mouthwatering sweet-and-sour flavor from sugar and Chinese black vinegar.
1 3/4 lb. waxy potatoes, peeled and julienned
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. Chinese black rice vinegar
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
3 dried chiles de árbol
1 small leek, white and light green parts only,
halved lengthwise and julienned
1 2" piece ginger, peeled and cut lengthwise
into thin matchsticks
Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1. Put potatoes into a strainer and rinse under cold water, tossing constantly with hands, until water runs clear; set aside to drain completely. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tsp. sugar and vinegar until sugar dissolves; set aside.
2. Heat a 14" wok or skillet over high heat until wok begins to smoke. Add oil around edge and bottom of wok, and then add peppercorns, chiles, leeks, and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add potatoes and remaining sugar and cook, stirring often, until potatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add reserved vinegar mixture and cook, stirring often, until potatoes are crisp-tender, 3–6 minutes more. Season with salt and transfer to a serving bowl.