Szechwan food is typically hot and this is a spicy dish, but it’s really not as hot as you think. All the ingredients, including the doubanjiang (Szechwan fermented chili bean paste), gochugaru (Korean chili powder), Szechwan peppercorns and Szechwan chili peppers, can be found in a good Asian grocery store. Serve this dish with lots of steamed jasmine rice.
Place the fish in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/4 tsp of the salt, rice wine (or dry sherry) and potato starch. Mix until the fish is evenly coated, then cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Set a wok over high heat. Add the doubanjiang, gochugaru (or chili oil), chicken stock, the 1 tsp of salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and ground Szechwan peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a clean, heatproof bowl and strain the liquid through it. Return the liquid to the stove and allow it to simmer.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the marinated fish and blanch until mostly cooked, about 2 minutes. Transfer the fish to the simmering stock and allow to simmer for another minute.
Arrange the bean sprouts in the bottom of a large serving bowl. Ladle the fish and the stock over them, then sprinkle with the green onions and peanuts.
Heat the canola oil in a small pan over high heat. When hot, add the whole peppercorns and dried chilies, and cook until the peppercorns become aromatic and the chilies begin to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately pour the hot oil and the spices over the fish. Serve immediately.