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Jan 12, 2007 03:30 AM

Szechwan peppercorns: Ideas for cooking with, and does anyone think they're addictive?

I bought a large jar of Szechwan peppercorns -- I'm not sure why, since I don't cook complicated Chinese dishes very often. I made some very intriguing ma po tofu, but what else would be tasty and not require arcane Chinese techniques? Also, does anyone else feel like when they eat a dish with these little guys, like they can't stop eating it? It's not because the dish is so yummy, it's like your mouth requires you to keep getting that chilling tingle.

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree that they are very addictive.

    My favorite use of them is in a cumin lamb dish. Any cumin lamb dish! You can stir fry a few vegetable with lamb slices and add the peppercorns (better if you've ground them to a powder), or do a whole stew with lamb leg/shank, beef/chicken/lamb stock, dried chilis, jalepenos, leeks, any green vegetable (bok choy, spinach, etc), soy sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, and peppercornw. OMG so good...

    1. Add them to barely steamed green beans with some sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Also good with fried mushrooms with a little soy sauce.

      I got addicted to these in Sichuan when I was there earlier this year. I first had them in some street food and my mouth was so instantly numb that I thought I was having an allergic reaction. I'm hooked now and would love some other ideas as well. Especially for a chicken & peanut dish......

      3 Replies
      1. re: jcanncuk

        I think someone posted this recipe somewhere else. It looks good, but I haven't tried it yet.

        1. re: Chowpatty

          Awesome! Thanks. I'll try it later this week and post a f/u!

          1. re: Chowpatty

            I tried this tonight - it was really tasty. I would double the amount of sichuan peppercorns next time though:-) It had just the right amount of kick and, as opposed to resto food, was not greasy in the least.

        2. I use Sichuan peppercorns and sea salt as a marinade/brining agent. I put peppercorns and sea salt in a frying pan on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the salt starts to take on the color and flavor of the peppercorns. Then I rub the peppercorns and salt all over the turkey or chicken or goose and let sit for a night.

          The next day I wash off the stuff and roast the meat.

          1. You can use that salt/pepper as a condiment too. I've also got some I need to use, so I'm looking for ideas as well.

            1. I bought a small jar at Penzy's last month. The product doesn't look like regular peppercorns: it's sort of a mix of kernels and shells. Also, not really hot. Is that the way it is supposed to be?

              That said, last week I cleaned out an old peppermill, put some of the Szechuan pepper in it, and put it on the table. I have been using it on all my foods, and I love the flavor! Especially on my breakfast egg-spinach-cheese omelet and cucumbers and steamed veggies, and potatoes...everything. Definitely distinctive and different from the tellichery pepper.

              1 Reply
              1. re: p.j.

                Szechuan peppercorns aren't supposed to be spicy/hot at all. They're known for the funny numb, tingling sensation on the tongue. You'll get more of that sensation if you pan roast them before you use them. Enjoy!