Cooking With Laoganma: Spicy Chili Crisp Potato Salad (Liangban Tudou, 凉拌土豆)


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Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp Potato Salad by The Mala Market

The Godmother Miniseries: Potatoes

As many from-scratch recipes as I publish, what really drives traffic to my website is The Godmother, aka, Laoganma, whom I first wrote at length about in early 2015. People all over the world love these Guizhou-made chili oils as condiments and are also looking for ways to cook with them. So who am I to disagree? I have one very popular recipe on the site for LGM Black Bean Chicken, but I cook with both the Spicy Chili Crisp and the Chili Oil With Black Bean fairly frequently, as well as with The Godmother’s Chili Oil Fermented Bean Curd.

So I’m embarking on a Cooking With Laoganma Miniseries, and first up is a room-temperature Sichuan potato salad. I usually make this dish with one of my homemade chili oils, but I have to admit that using LGM Spicy Chili Crisp does bump up the flavor. What can I say? It’s really, really tasty. And really easy.

So here we go. I’m going to keep this post as brief as it takes to make this. You slice the potatoes, mix the sauce, briefly boil the potato slices, mix them with the sauce, plate, garnish and done! This is what’s called a liangban cai, or cold dish, in Sichuan, meaning room temperature. The beauty of it is that it’s a delicious and easy make-ahead to go with a stir-fry. Though don’t put it out too early, or there won’t be any left!

The main thing to remember is to not overcook the potatoes. They really should be just slightly cooked. Not too crisp, but definitely not soft. When I see about a 1/4-inch cooked “ring” around the outside of the slices, I know they are done. Especially since they will continue to cook until you put them into the sauce—which you want to do pretty quickly so that the potatoes will easily absorb the killer combination of hot/sour/sweet/umami and whatever drug The Godmother puts in that sauce to make it so addictive.

Spicy Chili Crisp potato salad prep
Slice the potatoes just a bit thicker than a potato chip, using a mandoline if you have one.
Sauce for Spicy Chili Crisp potato salad
While the water is coming to a boil, mix the sauce.
Cooking potatoes for Spicy Chili Crisp potato salad
Cook the potato slices until you see about a 1/4-inch ring of “doneness” around the edge. Do not overcook.

Spice-wise, this dish is only moderately hot (to my tastebuds at least). To make it super mala, garnish with freshly roasted and ground Sichuan pepper and fresh hot chili peppers.

I adapted this recipe from one I found online years ago in an early food blog called Sunflower Food Galore (don’t you love the name?) The man or woman (I was never sure) was a self-described “Chinese brought up in Brunei now living in UK.” Although Sunflower Galore stopped blogging in early 2012, he/she published some really great recipes. I have since made this so many times I’ve made it my own, but I still owe a debt to this site. (When my husband saw me photographing this, he said, “Are you just now blogging about that dish?” Which shows you how many times we’ve had it.)

It’s easy to burn out as a blogger and stop altogether, which is why I am in the camp of “slow blogging.” I’d rather do quality recipes when I have time to do them justice than half-baked recipes every week. Sure appreciate you sticking around despite that.

Laoganma Spicy Chili Crisp Potato Salad by The Mala Market
Make sure every slice gets dunked in the Spicy Chili Crisp sauce before plating. Serve at room temperature. Thank the gods, once again, for The Godmother.

Cooking With Laoganma: Spicy Chili Crisp Potato Salad (Liangban Tudou)

By: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking


  • pounds russet potatoes (about 2 medium-large potatoes)
  • 4 tablespoons Laoganma Spicy Chili Crisp (or homemade chili oil)
  • 4 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Zhenjiang black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper oil
  • freshly ground Sichuan pepper (see note)
  • red chilies, thinly sliced
  • scallions, thinly sliced


  • Peel and cut potatoes into ⅛-inch slices. This is thicker than a potato chip, but only slightly. If possible, use a mandoline to get uniform slices. (I open my Benriner mandoline to nearly the thickest slicing capacity.) Put slices in a bowl and cover with water.
  • Put a large pot of water on to boil over a high heat. While waiting for it to come to a boil, mix the sauce in a large bowl: Spicy Chili Crisp (or homemade chili oil), soy sauce, vinegar, stock and Sichuan pepper oil.
  • When water is boiling, add potato slices. The boil will die down, and by the time it just recovers to a full boil the potatoes are probably done. I look for about a ¼-inch "ring" of doneness around the edges, with the interior still crisp. They need to remain somewhat firm so they don't fall apart in the sauce. Transfer the potatoes to a colander and drain well.
  • Immediately add the potato slices to the sauce bowl about ⅓ at a time. Use tongs to make sure each slice gets fully covered with sauce on both sides before transferring to a serving plate. Finish with remaining potatoes, ⅓ at a time. When all slices are nicely arranged, spoon any remaining sauce on top. Garnish with ground Sichuan pepper, chili rings and scallions to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Ground Sichuan pepper: Sort Sichuan peppercorns and discard any black seeds or twigs. Toast in a dry skillet or toaster oven until pods start to smell very fragrant, but do not brown them. Let peppercorns cool, then grind in a spice grinder or in a mortar & pestle to your desired coarseness. Sift out any yellow husks that don’t break down. Sichuan pepper powder will retain its potent flavor and numbing punch for only a few weeks.

Tried this recipe?

About Taylor Holliday

The Mala Market all began when Taylor, a former journalist, created this blog as a place to document her adventures learning to cook Sichuan food for Fongchong, her recently adopted 11-year-old daughter. They discovered through the years that the secret to making food that tastes like it would in China is using the same ingredients that are used in China. The mother-daughter team eventually began visiting Sichuan’s factories and farms together and, in 2016, opened The Mala Market, America’s source for Sichuan heritage brands and Chinese pantry essentials.

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    1. Hi Bethia,
      I have not seen that recipe before, but I love celery so will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing!

  1. Hi Taylor – I saw in the comments section under a different post (Gong Bao Chicken) that you didn’t know of any nearby soy sauce brewers, so I thought I’d mention Bluegrass Soy Sauce in Louisville KY is really not far from you. Website is Their soy sauce is excellent.

    I couldn’t find a way to post this in the Gong Bao Chicken comments, so I’ll just leave it here 🙂

    1. Hi Dabney,
      Thanks so much for reminding me of this! I do have some of thier soy sauce. It’s funny that I don’t think of it for Chinese food, I guess because it’s aged in bourbon barrels. Also, at its size and price it’s more of a dipping sauce than for cooking. But it is indeed good. (Thanks also for the heads-up on comments being closed on older posts. That was not intentional and has been fixed now.)

  2. I prepared this recipe last night and I wish I have doubled or even quadrupled the quantities. I used my own homemade chili oil that I made using Maggie’s recipe. What makes this recipe so wonderful, is the chili oil used. Mine is spicy and fragrant, yet our grandchildren can handle the spiciness.

    Easy to make and yet so tasty and delicious. If you know how to boil water, then you know how make this recipe.

    Even though my wife is Chinese from Hong Kong, she has never heard of this recipe. Everybody in my household enjoyed this meal and they wished I made more. So you know, I will be making this more often.

    Thank you for posting these lovely recipes.

    1. Thanks so much, Steve! It makes me happy that you were inspired enough to make it immediately. As you said, as long as the chili oil is good, this dish is good. Let me know how it goes if you double it.

  3. I made this tonight too! I had one lonely russet potato that needed to be used, so I went ahead.
    So good, thank you for the recipe! And I have plenty of sauce left over. Will check tomorrow if it goes well with some broccoli or cauliflower.

      1. I ended up serving leftover sauce over some steamed asparagus alongside some mapo tofu (another awesome recipe by the way), and it worked very well.

  4. I just made the Spicy Chili Crisp Potato Salad (Liang Ban Tu Dou) WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS ALL!!!!!! I had forgotten how good the Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp is as I have been using my own chili oil… SO I added some of my oil to it . And my chili oil is REALLY, REALLY SMOKIN’ HOT !!!!!!!! Plus I used your green Sichuan peppers and pepper oil…. Those Greenies are unbeatable.. Thanks again to you guys …….

    1. Thanks, Bill!!!!! I’m glad you used the green Sichuan pepper on it, and I love that you call them Greenies.