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Spicy and Sour Julienned Potato Salad with Sichuan Pepper

4 Servings

25 minutes

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This side dish, adapted from “Xi’an Famous Foods” by Jason Wang, is a departure from what most of us consider a potato salad. Yukon Golds are julienned (that is, cut into matchsticks), boiled until tender but with a hint of bite, dressed in vinegar, tossed with a sizzling spice-infused oil and finished with scallions and cilantro. The sourness of the vinegar along with the heat of the chilies and tongue-tingling quality of the Sichuan peppercorns brings bold flavor to earthy, mild potatoes. A mandoline fitted with the julienne blade is the fastest, easiest way to prep the potatoes; the matchsticks should measure about ⅛ inch on four sides, but their length isn’t so important. Or, if you’re up for honing your knife skills, use a chef’s knife instead. Either way, make sure to purchase medium-sized potatoes, not small ones, so prep is easier. Sweet paprika lends color and earthy notes to the oil, but if you don’t have any on hand, simply omit it. The salad will still be delicious.




Don’t cook the potatoes until completely tender. Drain them when the pieces are tender-crisp. This way, they hold their shape and have an al dente quality in the finished dish. And don’t mix the scallion whites into the potatoes. Pile them on top and make sure that the hot spice-infused oil hits the scallions when it’s strained on. The oil blooms the alliums and cooks them slightly.

25 minutes


  • pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch matchsticks

  • Kosher salt


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Jan B.
July 6, 2023
Authentic and Delicious
I recently sampled this dish in Chinatown in Queens, NY, on a Culinary Backstreets food tour--which is highly recommended. It was one of my favorite tastes on the tour, so I was delighted to find this recipe on Milk Street's site. I used the julienne blade on my Benriner mandolin (which I purchased last year from Milk Street) and cooked the potatoes as recommended--two minutes after reaching a boil did it perfectly. This version is quite a bit spicier than what I tasted in Chinatown, but was still delicious. I think I would halve the amount of Arbol chiles used in making the chili oil next time. And I will make this again. Thanks Milk Street!
Scott P.
January 25, 2023
Scott P
This is the first potato dish from Milk Street I've found underwhelming. The flavors are fine but the potato matchsticks (tender-crispy, as specified) bring out the blandness of the spud.
Mike B.
April 22, 2024
Great Potential
I really like the concept and the departure from traditional styles of potato salad, but this was way too spicy for me and my wife (and we like spice!) I followed the recipe exactly and simply could not eat the results. We tried several different fixes - lime juice, more salt, more potatoes - but the chili oil addition was just too spicy to be palatable. I plan to make this again and omit the Arbol chilies altogether. I am holding out great hope.
Jennifer B.

Loved this! Hate my mandoline, it terrifies me, but I was worth overcoming my fear. The spice was terrific and the vinegar was just the right touch.