Sichuan Peppercorn is a native spice from China that is used in classic Sichuan cuisine. These peppercorns are unique in both its flavor and function.
It offers a complexity of earthy aromatics and floral flavor, while also causing a tongue-numbing sensation that makes for a distinct and unusual eating experience.
It is best used in a variety of different recipes to bring a depth of flavor that is both rich and delicious. Continue reading for a list of recipes featuring this special spice.
What is Sichuan Peppercorn?
Sichuan Peppercorn is actually not a pepper, but rather a berry of the prickly ash tree, which is part of the citrus family. It's an indigenous spice of China and Taiwan, and is typically harvested once a year in late summer.
These tiny bumpy fruits are picked from branches, and laid out to dry naturally in the sun. As they dry out, the berries crack open into a floral shape that are known as hua jiao, or "flower pepper." (1)
Once the husks release their small black seed, the fragrant peppercorns are processed to ensure no other pieces make it into the batch. While labor-intensive, these small yet flavorful peppercorns are then used in classic Sichuan cuisine.
What do Sichuan Peppercorns taste like?
There are two types of Sichuan Peppercorns. The first type are red peppercorns, which are characterized as more earthy, and the second type are green peppercorns, which are rarer and more floral. Both are considered to have citrus notes, however, the uniqueness of the spice is more in their function as in their flavor.
Some mistake Sichuan Peppercorn as being spicy, however, these peppercorns actually induce a tingling sensation that numbs the mouth. It's similar to drinking carbonated seltzer.
How are Sichuan Peppercorns used?
Sichuan Peppercorn is used in many traditional Sichuan dishes that are known for their deep rich flavors. Typically when using these peppercorns in a dish, recipes require them to be roasted or ground first.
Sichuan food is most well-known for its hot and spicy flavor combinations as well as its sweet and sour flavors too. It's also commonly found in the "Five Fragrances" which consists of fennel, pepper, aniseed, cinnamon, and clove, chili and Sichuan pepper.
Here at People's, we decided to incorporate Sichuan into our very own Sichuan Peppercorn Beef Jerky flavor. It's savory, rich, and has that mind blowing, mouth tingling sensation that'll keep you coming back for more! Pick up a bag today.
7 Recipes Featuring Sichuan Peppercorn
1. Sichuan Dry Rub Chicken Drumsticks
This is an easy and delicious recipe to ease yourself into getting familiar with Sichuan Peppercorn. These dry rub chicken drumsticks are flavorful and cooked to perfection, everyone will love them.
- Total time: 40 minutes
2. Sichuan-Style Wontons in Hot and Sour Vinegar and Chili Oil Sauce
These wontons are sweet, savory, hot and sour and so full of flavor you'll be craving more. The Sichuan-style wontons come coated in an intense aromatic sauce including vinegar, garlic, and roasted chili oil. It's decadently rich and a crowd pleaser.
- Total time: 60 minutes
3. Easy Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans
This vegetable dish is bright and light and features beans that have delicious blistered skins and snappy interiors. They are finished off being tossed with chili-flavored oil, Sichuan Peppercorns, scallions, garlic, ginger, and chopped preserved mustard root.
- Total time: 15 minutes
4. Spicy Sichuan Stir Fried Rice Cakes
If you've never had a rice cake, you'll have to try this recipe. They are little, starchy, chewy disks or ovals made from sticky rice. They are almost similar to gnocci, but are Chinese! They can be added to soups, stir-fries, or as a side.
- Total time: 25 minutes
5. Dan Dan Sichuan Noodles
This is a recipe that is definitely not for spicy food novices, but for those who love heat and Sichuan cuisines. It's savory, rich and has that mind numbing sensation that keeps you coming back for more.
- Total time: 90 minutes
Try our latest Test Kitchen flavor: Sichuan Peppercorn Beef Jerky today!