szechuan peppers - where can I find them in NS
I have been looking for szechuan peppers online, but can only find them in the States to ship. Is there anywhere in Nova Scotia that you can go buy them?
Do you mean Sichuan peppercorns or dried Sichuan facing heaven (sky) dried chilis? The former can be had at any Chinese grocer in Halifax. The latter only one store will probably know what you are talking about and that is the one on the corner of Henry & South in Halifax. Tian Phat sometimes have the latter but most of the employees don't distinguish them from regular dried chilies. If you search facing heaven chilies here on chowhound you will find plenty of talk on the subject including availability locally.
I have not heard of facing heaven (sky) dried chillies. What are these? Szechuan peppers come from the outer pod of the berry of the zanthoxylum species of plants. Is this the same thing? It's good to know that some places will not distinguish them from regular dried chillies as I have never bought them before and am not entirely sure if I would know the real thing if I saw it.
Facing heaven chilis are essential to Sichuan cooking and are dried chili peppers. These are about 2" long and triangular. See
for a picture of them. They are the La of ma la in many Sichuan dishes. (google ma la). FHC are quite unlike other dried chilis and are not as fiercely hot as other chilis (Thai etc.) and slightly citrusy. Generally about 10 or more are used per dish and chopped in half discarding the seed and are usually not eaten.
If you are looking for Sichuan peppercorns from Zanthoxylum these as mentioned before are readily available at all Chinese shops in Halifax. Ask for peppercorns or Sichuan peppercorns not peppers as these are in fact berries. These (huājiāo - hu ar, ji ow) produce the Ma in the ma la of Sichuan cuisine and produce a numbing effect to the lips, tongue and surronding areas. They are used whole or ground and are generally fried briefly at some point in a recipe. They vary greatly in quality, look for the brightest red ones. A local chef gave me some high quality ones fresh from Chengdu and the degree of numbing was extraordinary.