How to use sichuan peppercorn?

Manna Foods
Apr/08/2024
How to use sichuan peppercorn?
The main purpose of using Sichuan peppercorns is to make use of the numbing taste and aroma in the peppercorns to increase the taste of food. There are many ways to use Sichuan peppercorns, and today we will introduce them in detail.

Sichuan peppercorns, also known as Szechuan peppercorns or Chinese prickly ash, are a staple ingredient in Sichuan cuisine, renowned for their unique aroma and tongue-tingling numbing sensation. In recent years, they have gained popularity worldwide for their ability to elevate dishes with their complex flavor profile. This article serves as a comprehensive guide on how to use Sichuan peppercorns to enhance your culinary creations.Sichuan-pepper (1).webp

Use

Using Whole Sichuan Peppercorns
One of the most common ways to use Sichuan peppercorns is to toast them lightly in a dry pan until fragrant, then crush or grind them before use. This releases their essential oils and intensifies their flavor. Whole Sichuan peppercorns are often added to oil-based stir-fries, soups, and stews at the beginning of cooking to infuse their aroma and numbing sensation into the dish.

Creating Sichuan Peppercorn Oil

Sichuan peppercorn oil is a versatile condiment that adds depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes. To make it, lightly toast whole Sichuan peppercorns in oil until fragrant, then strain out the peppercorns. The resulting oil can be drizzled over noodles, salads, or grilled meats for a flavorful kick.

Making Sichuan Peppercorn Salt

Sichuan peppercorn salt is a simple yet delicious seasoning that can be sprinkled over finished dishes to add texture and flavor. To make it, combine crushed Sichuan peppercorns with coarse salt in a 1:1 ratio. This aromatic salt can be used to season everything from roasted vegetables to grilled seafood.

Infusing Sichuan Peppercorns in Liquids

Sichuan peppercorns can also be used to infuse their unique flavor into liquids such as broths, sauces, and marinades. Simply add whole or crushed Sichuan peppercorns to the liquid and simmer gently to extract their aroma and numbing sensation. This infused liquid can then be used as a base for soups, braises, or dipping sauces.

Experimenting with Sichuan Peppercorn Blends

Sichuan peppercorns pair well with a variety of other spices and herbs, allowing for endless flavor combinations. Try combining them with chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce for a classic Sichuan flavor profile. Alternatively, experiment with unexpected pairings such as citrus zest, honey, or star anise for a modern twist.

green-sichuan-peppercorn-wholesale.webp

Useing cooking

Sichuan peppercorns have a fragrant aroma and can eliminate the fishy smell of meat. Moreover, their numbing sensation stimulates the appetite. When cooking, if Sichuan peppercorns are not added, the dish is surely lacking. However, sometimes even when Sichuan peppercorns are added, the dish may still lack the desired numbing sensation, or it may only have the numbing taste without the aroma, or it may even become burnt, generating a bitter taste. To fully release the numbing sensation of Sichuan peppercorns in dishes, it's essential to understand the correct methods of using them.

Method 1: Whether stir-frying or making Sichuan peppercorn oil, soaking the Sichuan peppercorns in hot water beforehand enhances their numbing aroma. The specific method is to rinse the Sichuan peppercorns before cooking, soak them in hot water for 3-5 minutes, and then use them for cooking. This step is crucial for removing any bitterness or off-flavors from the Sichuan peppercorns.

Method 2: If you want the dish to have a stronger numbing sensation, you must start with cold oil in the pan, or add the Sichuan peppercorns after the ingredients are in the pan. This is because as the dish or oil temperature increases, the Sichuan peppercorns gradually release their numbing sensation. However, the downside is that only the numbing sensation is achieved without the aromatic flavor of the Sichuan peppercorns.

Method 3: If you prioritize the aromatic flavor of the dish, then you should start with hot oil in the pan. When the oil temperature reaches about 50-60% of its smoking point, add the Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry for about 5-8 seconds to release their aroma. Immediately add other seasonings and ingredients to the pan to prevent the Sichuan peppercorns from burning.

Method 4: Using hot oil in the pan, typically employed when making soups or sauces. In this method, the oil should be heated until it starts to smoke before adding the Sichuan peppercorns. This allows the numbing aroma of the Sichuan peppercorns to be fully released.

Method 5: Heat the oil until it's hot, then pour it over a bowl containing Sichuan peppercorns to release their fragrance and numbing sensation. The drawback of this method is that while the fragrance of the Sichuan peppercorns is sufficient, the numbing sensation may be lacking slightly.

Cooking Tips:

  1. Choosing Sichuan peppercorns: High-quality Sichuan peppercorns typically have a slightly blackish color with a natural bright red hue and a strong numbing aroma when smelled. The stronger the numbing taste, the better.

  2. The ratio of oil to Sichuan peppercorns when stir-frying dishes is not fixed. If you want a stronger numbing sensation, simply add more Sichuan peppercorns. Generally, the ratio of oil to Sichuan peppercorns is around 3:1. For a dish with a large portion, about 20-30 Sichuan peppercorns are usually sufficient for a strong numbing sensation.

  3. Whether frying Sichuan peppercorn oil or stir-frying dishes with Sichuan peppercorns, both green and red Sichuan peppercorns can be used interchangeably. Green Sichuan peppercorns have a more fragrant aroma, while red Sichuan peppercorns have a stronger numbing sensation. The methods are the same for both types.


Using Sichuan Peppercorns to Make "Boiling Fish"

The key to using Sichuan peppercorns to make "boiling fish" is to enhance the overall taste of the dish with its unique numbing and spicy aroma. Here are the detailed steps to make "boiling fish":
boiling-fish.webp

Ingredients:

  • Fish fillets: 500 grams (such as grass carp, catfish, etc.) 

  • Sichuan peppercorns: as needed 

  • Dried chili peppers: as needed 

  • Scallions: 1 stalk 

  • Ginger: 1 piece 

  • Garlic: several cloves 

  • Bean sprouts or other vegetables: as needed 

  • Doubanjiang (fermented chili bean paste): as needed Salt: as needed 

  • Chicken bouillon: as needed 

  • Cooking wine: as needed Cornstarch: as needed 

  • Egg white: 1 Stock or water: as needed 

  • Cooking oil: a large amount 

Steps:

Steps 1 Prepare the fish fillets: Marinate the fish fillets with cooking wine, salt, egg white, and cornstarch for 15 minutes to enhance the flavor and texture.

Steps 2 Prepare the ingredients: Cut the scallions into sections, slice the ginger, and crush the garlic. Cut the dried chili peppers into small pieces and set aside with the Sichuan peppercorns. 

Steps 3 Cook the base sauce: Heat cooking oil in a pan, add Doubanjiang, scallion sections, ginger slices, and garlic cloves, stir-fry until fragrant, and create a red oil. 

Steps 4 Cook the vegetables: Add bean sprouts or other vegetables to the base sauce, stir-fry until partially cooked, then remove and place them at the bottom of a serving bowl. 

Steps 5 Cook the fish fillets: Bring stock or water to a boil in a pot, add the fish fillets, gently separate them, and cook until they change color and are fully cooked. Remove the fish fillets and place them on top of the cooked vegetables. 

Steps 6 Make the "boiling oil": In another pan, heat a large amount of cooking oil, add the dried chili pepper pieces and Sichuan peppercorns, fry over low heat until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. 

Steps 7 Drizzle the oil: Quickly and evenly pour the hot "boiling oil" over the fish fillets, ensuring that they are fully coated with the hot oil, thus infusing them with the numbing and spicy aroma of the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers. 

Tips:

Adjust the amount of Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers according to personal preference for desired level of numbness and spiciness. Be careful not to overcook the fish fillets to maintain their texture. When drizzling the oil, do it quickly and evenly to ensure the best taste and visual effect. By following these steps, you can create a delicious and aromatic "boiling fish" dish that is both flavorful and visually appealing. Give it a try!

Using Sichuan Peppercorns to Make "Spicy Chicken Cubes"

Making "Spicy Chicken Cubes" with Sichuan peppercorns is a classic Sichuan dish where the numbing aroma of the peppercorns blends with the spiciness of chili peppers, creating a rich and unique flavor. Here are the steps to make Sichuan peppercorn "Spicy Chicken Cubes":

Spicy-Chicken.webp

Ingredients:

  • Chicken chunks: 500 grams (chicken thighs or breasts) 

  • Dried chili peppers: as needed 

  • Sichuan peppercorns: as needed 

  • Scallions: 2 stalks Ginger: 1 piece 

  • Garlic: several cloves 

  • Cooking wine: as needed 

  • Light soy sauce: as needed Salt: as needed 

  • Granulated sugar: as needed 

  • Chicken bouillon/MSG: as needed 

  • Cooking oil: as needed 

  • Toasted sesame seeds: as needed (optional, for aroma and garnish) 

Steps:

Step 1 Prepare the ingredients:Wash the chicken chunks and drain excess water. Cut the dried chili peppers into small pieces and set aside along with the Sichuan peppercorns. Slice the scallions, ginger, and mince the garlic. 

Step 2 Marinate the chicken:Add cooking wine, light soy sauce, salt, granulated sugar, and chicken bouillon/MSG to the chicken chunks. Mix well and marinate for 15-20 minutes to enhance the flavor. 

Step 3 Stir-fry the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers:Heat cooking oil in a pan, then add the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili pepper pieces. Stir-fry over low heat until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Once done, remove the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers, leaving the oil in the pan. 

Step 4 Fry the chicken:Place the marinated chicken chunks into the hot oil and fry over medium heat until golden brown and crispy. Remove the fried chicken and drain excess oil. 

Step 5 Stir-fry:Leave a small amount of oil in the same pan, add the sliced scallions, ginger, and minced garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant. Then, add the fried chicken chunks and quickly stir-fry to coat evenly. Next, add the previously stir-fried Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers, continue to stir-fry to allow the chicken to absorb the aroma of the peppercorns and chili peppers. 

Step 6 Season:According to personal preference, adjust the seasoning with salt, chicken bouillon/MSG, and granulated sugar. Quickly stir-fry to mix evenly. 

Step 7 Serve:Once done, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds (if using) for aroma and garnish. After thorough mixing, transfer to a serving plate. 

Notes:

The amount of Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers can be adjusted according to personal taste preferences. For a stronger numbing and spicier flavor, add more. Be cautious with the oil temperature when frying the chicken to avoid overcooking or burning. Stir-fry quickly to maintain the crispiness of the chicken. This Sichuan peppercorn "Spicy Chicken Cubes" dish is mouthwateringly spicy and tender, making it a highly enjoyable Sichuan cuisine delicacy.

Using Sichuan Peppercorns to Make "Water-Boiled Beef"

Making "Water-Boiled Beef" with Sichuan peppercorns is a typical Sichuan dish where the numbing aroma of the peppercorns combines with the deliciousness of beef, resulting in a rich and unique flavor. Below are the specific steps:

Boiled-beef.webp

Ingredients:

  • Beef slices: 500 grams 

  • Sichuan peppercorns: as needed 

  • Dried chili peppers: as needed 

  • Scallions, ginger, garlic: as needed 

  • Bean sprouts or other vegetables: as needed Salt: as needed 

  • Light soy sauce: as needed 

  • Cooking wine: as needed 

  • Cornstarch: as needed Egg white: 1 

  • Stock or water: as needed 

  • Cooking oil: as needed 

Steps:

  1. Prepare the beef: Slice the beef thinly, marinate with salt, light soy sauce, and cooking wine for a short while. Then add an egg white and cornstarch, mix well to allow the beef to absorb fully, ensuring it remains tender when cooked.

  2. Prepare the ingredients: Cut the scallions, ginger, and garlic, and prepare the dried chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns. Wash bean sprouts or other vegetables.

  3. Stir-fry the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers: Heat cooking oil in a pan, add Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers, and stir-fry over low heat until fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  4. Cook the vegetables: In a pot, add stock or water and bring to a boil. Then add bean sprouts or other vegetables and cook until partially done. Remove from the pot and place them in a serving bowl.

  5. Cook the beef: Place the marinated beef slices into the pot, gently separate them, and cook until they change color and are fully cooked. Remove from the pot and place them on top of the cooked vegetables.

  6. Seasoning and oil drizzling: Sprinkle the previously stir-fried Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers over the cooked beef, then sprinkle some chopped scallions and minced garlic. 


Heat some cooking oil in a separate pan and drizzle it over the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers to bring out the aroma.

This way, the "Water-Boiled Beef" dish is made, with tender and juicy beef slices, crisp and refreshing vegetables, and the fragrant aroma of Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili peppers, creating a deliciously spicy and aromatic flavor.

Conclusion

Sichuan peppercorns are a versatile and essential ingredient in Chinese cuisine, prized for their unique flavor and numbing sensation. Whether used whole, ground, infused, or blended with other spices, Sichuan peppercorns add depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes. By incorporating Sichuan peppercorns into your cooking repertoire, you can elevate your culinary creations and embark on a flavorful journey through the vibrant world of Sichuan cuisine.


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