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Sichuan Peppercorns, ideas?

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I was thrilled to find a jar of Sichuan peppercorns out shopping yesterday. They are so unique, with the way they add a "cool" yet spicy kick, and leave (at least mine, anyways) my mouth tingly-fresh. Very addictive.

What are you your favorite ways to use this spice? I also (finally!) purchaed a mortar and pestle for my spices, do the peppercorns need to be ground for maximum taste? My gut feeling is that if left whole, they will impart a milder taste to the food.

I'm really excited to use this in dishes, and want ideas on how best to utilize their flavor.

Thank you so much in advance!

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  1. Well, you could start with the always-popular "ma po tofu".

    You could also use them in mongolian beef type dishes to dress up the sauce, as well as most chicken dishes and dishes with fish fillets.

    One of the best uses of true, high quality Sichuan peppercorns is to sprinkle it over "dan-dan mien" ... truly mouthwatering if you like spicy and pungent foods.

    And, yes, toast then grind.

    Enjoy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Thanks for the starter-list, ipsedixit!

      I adore mabo/mapo tofu, and that's a great way to use the peppercorns, I wish I haden't had dinner allready, or i'd be making that RIGHT now! I think Monday, i'll make it.

      The bottle says the peppercorns are allready toasted. So, the new mortar and pestle will get used (so happy!) and it's culinary virginity (and mine, with one) will be given to a delish meal!

      MMMMmmmm.....Dan Dan noodles, my poor mouth is just watering thinking about that dish! One of my faves!

    2. Hmm ...

      I was taught to place the peppercorns in a hot DRY skillet and move them around over the flame until the aroma is very intense but just short of smoking. Put them on a plate and cool.

      Put in the Cuisinart and whirl with the basic blade for about a minute.

      Transfer to a sieve and shake. The resulting finer "powder" is what you are looking for. Discard the larger husks.

      I have used this method for many years with great results.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SilverlakeGirl

        Silverlakegirl, this is terrific advice, and very clear, thanks! I too have been wondering how best to use my newly acquired supply of sichuan peppercorns.
        Once you have the "dust" -- about how much do you use to flavor your dishes? Is it a case of a little goes a long way, or do you flavor with a heavier hand? Furthermore, with the dust, is it best to use it during the cooking process, or to add near the end?

      2. Look at one of Suzanna Foo's cookbooks. There are a number of recipes using them.

        1. Sichuan peppercorn is also used in Tibetan and Nepalese cooking. Have you ever heard of a "momo"? It is a Tibetan/Nepalese dumpling. You could try to make those, you'd have to google the recipe.

          You could also make a Tibetan/Nepalese chutney. Dress 1 lb tomatoes with 2 tbs oil, then bake at 450 F for 30 minutes, along with the tomatoes, stick 4 cloves garlic on your baking sheet. Blend this with 1 heaping tsp salt, 1 tsp sichuan pepper corn, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 cup chopped frsh cilantro. Keeps well in the fridge for a month or so. This is a nice chutney to serve with an Indian or Nepali style meal, serve on the side of grilled or pan blackened meat, or even just eat with rice or mix in your food like a kimchee.