I was looking for a side dish to go with a Sichuanese beef dish, and I when I came across this recipe (in my still current favorite Chinese cookbook Land of Plenty) I couldn't resist doing the Chinese equivalent of "meat and potatoes." Potatoes are a relatively new introduction to China, where they're unsurprisingly known as "foreign taro." In this dish, they should be a bit crunchy (though I think I over-stir-fried mine). The flavor is a blend of mellow potato with the occasional zing of a Sichuan peppercorn. I recommend pairing with a strongly-flavored main dish. It went beautifully with the sweet "beef slivers with sesame seeds," also in Land of Plenty.
Potato Slivers with Chiles and Sichuan Peppercorns
Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop
1.5 lb potatoes
6 dried chiles, preferably Sichuanese "facing heaven" chiles
1 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
1-2 tsp sesame oil
Peel potatoes and cut into very fine matchstick slivers. I used a mandoline for potatoes that looked like fine rice noodles or angel hair pasta. You could also use a coarse grater, but it'll be a totally different effect -- more like Sichuanese hash browns. Soak the potatoes in lightly salted cold water to remove excess starch..
Just before cooking, drain potatoes, shaking out as much water as possible.
Season (heat) the wok then add 2 Tbs of peanut oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chiles and Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add the potatoes, turn the heat up and stir-fry vigorously for 4 -5 minutes, seasoning with salt and a touch of sugar (~1/2 tsp). When the potatoes are hot and cooked, but still al dente, remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil.