Rinse and then soak the chilies in hot water for 30 minutes.
You can also de-seed the chilies and remove their stems before you soak them.
Drain all the water. Remove the stems and then break the chilies. Add them to a chutney grinder or blender. Add water and make a smooth paste of the red chilies.
Crush the sichuan peppers coarsely in a mortar-pestle.
Making schezwan sauce
Heat toasted sesame oil or any other vegetable oil in a frying pan.
Lower the heat. Add the garlic and ginger first and sauté for some seconds till their raw aroma goes away. Don't brown them.
Add the chopped shallots and then saute them stirring often till translucent on low to medium-low heat.
Add the ground red chili paste and combine thoroughly.
Then add the crushed sichuan pepper and finely chopped celery (if using). Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes more till you see oil releasing from the sides of the sauce.
Add ½ cup of water and mix well. Simmer for 2 minutes stirring often on a low to medium-low heat.
Add salt, sugar, pepper, soy sauce and vinegar.
Stir and continue to cook further for 5 to 6 minutes more on low to medium-low heat.
Switch off the heat and set the pan aside. Check the taste and add more salt, sugar or pepper as required.
Once the sauce cools at room temperature, transfer it in a small jar or bowl. Cover tightly with a lid and refrigerate.
Serve schezwan sauce as a condiment with snacks or you can also add in recipes like schezwan fried rice or noodles, vegetable schezwan or veg balls in hot garlic sauce or schezwan dosa.
It stays good for about 2 to 3 weeks in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
For a sweeter taste consider adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup to the sauce.
Use a mix of dried red chilies that give a good bright color and are moderately spiced. If you use chilies that are very hot or pungent the sauce will also become very spicy. I suggest to either use a mix of Indian varieties of Kashmiri red chili and byadagi red chilli as I have done. Or only use Kashmiri red chilies as shown in the video.
You can also add some celery as seen in the video recipe.
The recipe can be scaled to make a small or big batch.
To preserve the sauce for a longer time, add a layer of oil about ½ inch on top of the sauce. Always refrigerate this sauce and don't store at room temperature.
Note that the approximate nutrition data is for the entire amount of schezwan sauce made from this recipe.