Suan la fen, literally translated, it means “Hot and Sour sweet potato vermicelli”.
I watched the vendor peel the sweet potatoes and then, using a potato peeler, he spiralized the potato flesh, which was flash-boiled and then sauteed. It was then immersed in a spicy chilli broth mixed with seafood. I thought this was such a clever dish, using ingredients that were in abundance in Sichuan province and providing a great alternative to wheat noodles.
Ingredients for Suan la fen
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 spring onion(scallion), finely chopped
200g/7oz white fish fllet, cut into small chunks
8-10 raw king prawns(shrimp), peeled and deveined
1 sprig of coriander(cilantro), finely chopped
3 tbsp Sichuan pickled vegetables, chopped, or 3 tbsp crushed peanuts, to garnish
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp chilli oil
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
Suan la fen recipe
Cut the sweet potatoes into thin strips, using a spiralizer if you have one. Alternatively, cut the potatoes into long, thin strips. Set aside,
In a small bowl, mix all the flavourings together and set aside,
Cook the sweet potato strips in a large saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes, until softened. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Heat a wok over a high heat, add the vegetable oil, then add the the spring omion, fish and seafood and the coriander and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, When the seafood is fully cooked, add the cooked sweet potato and the flavourings, Mix well and toss for a further 3 minutes. Serve immediately, garnished with chopped pickled vegetables or crushed peanuts.