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Nov 1, 2012 12:25 PM

Green Sichuan Peppercorns?

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. 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

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

      Thanks for the response.

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

          1. 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.