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Green Sichuan Peppercorns?

GhostofaFlea Nov 1, 2012 12:25 PM

So I typically use the reddish-pink huajiao. But recently I went to a store what appeared to be almost exactly the same spice (same plant part, size, botantical features, packaging) but green.

I take them home and chew on one.

If the pink-red huajiao are junipery, with a bit of pepper flavor and a slow build of the "tingly" ma sensation, the green ones taste like citrus and have a much stronger ma sensation. It reminds me of the sansho powder I have (which I know is another Zanthoxylum species), but more potent. The difference is great enough that I've hesitated to sub it into Szechuan recipes.

So...what is it, and how do I use it?

My best guess is that it's qing huajiao from Heibei, but that's pure speculation based on written descriptions at Wikipedia. Anyone know better?

And if it is, anyone know how to use it?

I'll try and find my camera and post a picture of the packaging (my camera isn't good enough to get a close-up on a pod).

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  1. emily RE: GhostofaFlea Nov 1, 2012 12:37 PM

    I picked some of these up in a Chengdu food market recently on a tour I took with Fuchsia Dunlop. They have a fruity smell to me, but I haven't actually used them. According to Fuchsia, you can use them in recipes that call for regular Sichuan peppercorns.

    1 Reply
    1. re: emily
      GhostofaFlea RE: emily Nov 1, 2012 01:22 PM

      Culinary tour with Fuschia Dunlop? Awesome. Love her cookbooks.

      Thanks for the response.

    2. Pata_Negra RE: GhostofaFlea Nov 1, 2012 01:15 PM

      maybe your answer is found here... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/866531

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pata_Negra
        GhostofaFlea RE: Pata_Negra Nov 1, 2012 01:24 PM

        Thanks for the link.

      2. beetlebug RE: GhostofaFlea Nov 1, 2012 01:28 PM

        I was gifted a small bag of green sichuan peppercorns as well as a small bag of red ones. Both came from Chengdu. I just used them the way I would use the red ones. They are stronger so I just sprinkled less onto my food.

        1. emily RE: GhostofaFlea Nov 1, 2012 02:51 PM

          Here's a picture of mine (along with a comparison of Penzey's Sichuan peppercorns and the brighter red version from Chengdu).

          1. possumspice RE: GhostofaFlea Jan 6, 2013 01:13 PM

            Do you mind sharing what city you live in? My husband and I bought a bunch of green Sichuan peppercorns on our recent trip to China and are already eyeing our dwindling supply with alarm. Would love to find a source closer than PRC.

            1. t
              theprospector RE: GhostofaFlea Jan 14, 2013 01:30 PM

              I was in western china recently and found dried and fresh green sichuan peppercorns Z. schinifolium. I've used them in copius amount in all types of dishes, hiding and lingering beneath other flavor profiles. This variety of prickly ash is being used in China to create atherolsclerosis reversal drugs. I brought back quite a few but have sed them up. Cannot find any here or on the web. Where did you find them? I would really like to get more!

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