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Sichuan ingredients in Minneapolis

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Decided to start Sichuan cooking and need to start a pantry. Shuang Hur,United Noodle, or somewhere else? Whaere is the best Market? Also does anyone have suggestions for particular brands. I have a feeling it might be difficult to track down staples like Chili Bean paste, sichuan dried chilis, preserved vegetables, etc....

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  1. United Noodle berfore Shuang Hur. UN should have what you are looking for.

    1. i usually get sichuan peppercorns at shuang hur, it's closer for me than UN and they always have them, but labeled under prickly ash berry

      1. I prefer Shuang Hur - although UN may have a larger selection, but prices seem higher at UN. Buy dried peppers to make your own chili paste and chili oil, I like dried Thai peppers... Por Kwan, Lee Kum Kee, and Sichuan Pixiandouban are all decent brands. I like Pearl River Bridge for ss.

        1. You shouldn't have much trouble finding chili bean paste. The trick is knowing exactly what you need for the recipe, because the sheer volume of options can be overwhelming.

          Szechuan peppercorns are much harder to find. I thought I read UN doesn't even have them, but Shuang Hur does (just ask for them if you can't find them).

          Lee Kum Kee is always reliable, so that's my go to.

          26 Replies
          1. re: kevin47

            Szechuan peppercorns are always available at Penzey's.

            1. re: gildeddawn

              penzeys is a rip off. Sichuan peppercorns are always at shuang hur labeled as prickly ash berries.

              1. re: mitch cumstein

                Yeah, it's more expensive, that's definitely true. Just offering it in case people were having trouble finding them.

                1. re: gildeddawn

                  Quality costs more....

                2. re: mitch cumstein

                  Was disappointed with shuang hurs peppercorns...virtually no ma (numbing flavor)

                3. re: gildeddawn

                  When I called Penzey's they didn't have them. Are they called something else there too?

                  1. re: kevin47

                    I just bought some last Friday, maybe you talked to someone new?

                    1. re: kevin47

                      prickly. ash. berries.

                      1. re: kevin47

                        Just looked at the jar I have from Penzey's. In big bold type it says 'Peppercorns'. Underneath, in smaller type, it reads 'China Szechuan'.

                    2. re: kevin47

                      Lee Kum Kee is pretty ubiquitous. But, I agree, it's a good idea to know exactly what you're cooking so you can acquire the exact right ingredients. I often bring the cookbook with me. I love this slide show of shopping for ingredients (in NY, not Mpls, sadly) with Fuchsia Dunlop. http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0... If you're cooking from Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery/Land of Plenty there are some extensive threads on the home cooking board where people talk about the brands they've found and often post photos.

                      Here's the Master thread (with links to a bunch of subthreads) for Dunlop "Land of Plenty" (Sichuan) & "Revolutionary Chinese" (Hunan) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/494660

                      Here's the master thread for Dunlop's "Every Grain of Rice".
                      http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2013/0...

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I went shuang hur and was able to find pretty much everything. The only thing I couldn't find was dried sichuan chiles. Went to 3 places no luck. Everyone has Thai peppers but I think the heat in those would overpower recipes.

                        1. re: kriminalrat

                          I've found these dried chiles at Shuang Hur in Minneapolis. http://www.kitchenchick.com/2007/02/t...

                          1. re: BigSal

                            Missed them...is there a substitute for the Sichuan Chile?

                            1. re: kriminalrat

                              They are hard to find at Shuang Hur- not the most organized place. :) According to Fuchsia Dunlop, any chile that will give off that nice red color and palatable heat will work (Thai peppers are typically too hot). http://tinyurl.com/mow2tah. Before I tracked down the heaven facing chiles, I just used another Chinese chile.

                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Thanks tdq...just picked up lop and a wok and am really enjoying cooking Sichuan food.

                          1. re: kriminalrat

                            Please do come post over in the LOP threads on Home Cooking. The more the merrier. Plus, the more Twin Citeans scouring town for Sichuan ingredients, the better.

                            ~TDQ

                        3. re: kevin47

                          My mapo tofu taste so much better now that I am using Sichuan chili bean paste (douban jiang). It adds a depth of flavor and savoriness that wasn't there previously. The ingredients are chillies, broad (fava) beans, salt and wheatflour. I purchased them online, but recently noticed they are available locally at United Noodle.

                          1. re: BigSal

                            What brand,BigSal? A photo would be great, if it's not too much trouble.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              The ones I have were purchased online and different than the one at United Noodle. I'll try to remember to take a picture for you the next time I'm there.

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                I'm just finishing a jar of the pic on the left for my Mapo Tofu. But I'm going back to the can on the right, which to me has a more traditional flavor.

                                 
                                 
                                1. re: ChancesR

                                  Very kind of you, thank you! Both of those have broad beans?

                                  ~TDQ

                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  That would be great, if it's not too much trouble. It's easy to find the ones that have soybeans; harder to find the ones with broad beans.

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Went to United Noodle today and they are out of the Pixian Broad Bean Chili Paste. They said it should be in stock in the next week or so. I'll let you know the next time I see it.

                                    I did see the the canned chili bean sauce (the one of the right) ChancesR posted and it is made with soybeans. Not sure about the other.

                                    1. re: BigSal

                                      TDQ and BigSal, I didn't know about the broad bean/soybean dichotomy. Does the broad bean chili bean sauce have a different flavor?

                                      1. re: ChancesR

                                        I'm no expert, but I read about Pixian doubanjiang in Fucshia Dunlop's book and blog (and elsewhere). It is my understanding that the premiere doubanjiang (aka the soul of Sichuan cuisine) is made in Pixian county. There they make it with broad beans. I have noticed that the Pixian doubanjiang seems to have more complexity than some of the others (non-Pixian) I have used. For us, it is worth seeking out the Pixian variety, so it's nice to know that we have local sources (United Noodle) for it now.

                                        1. re: BigSal

                                          United Noodle has the Pixian doubanjiang (chili bean paste) back in stock. I haven't tried this brand before. On a side note, I've noticed that the salt content varies quite a bit with different pastes, so I would taste your dish with the paste before adding any soy sauce or salt.

                                           
                                           
                            2. And don't forget Dragon Star on Dale and Minnehaha in St. Paul. I've had decent luck there. I order sichuan peppercorns online at world something (you have to send a check) and it's worked out great. World of Spices?

                              1. Given all the food safety woes in China, Chinese in the USA are now happy to search for the “made in Taiwan” label. Lan Chi makes a wide range of prepared sauces.

                                http://www.lanchifoods.com/Products.htm

                                See if the local suppliers can get a hold of the wonderful, aged soy sauce made by
                                Wan Ja Shan – a Taiwanese company that makes their soy sauce in NY State. They also have an organic soy sauce.

                                http://www.wanjashan.com/include/N3O1...

                                1. Found Ming Teh brand Broad Bean Paste With Chili at United Noodle. It's made in Taiwan so may be safer per scoopG's concern. Haven't tried it yet but will re-post when I do.

                                   
                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ChancesR

                                    For us on the north side, we go to Golden Lion supermarket, off 252/85th. Huge selection, I've gotten our schizuan peppercorns there.