Szechuan (or Sichuan) pepper is something that I always have in my pantry. I first started using Szechuan pepper after receiving a copy of Kylie Kwong’s ‘Simple Chinese Cooking’. I adore Kylie Kwongs ‘Chilli-Salt Duck Breast with Lemon’, we often cook this with chicken wings for a quick, easy and fresh meal. Delicious!
Szechuan pepper has a unique floral aroma, and despite the name it does not belong to the pepper family. It is most commonly used in Szechuan cuisine (funny that), and it is one of the 5 ingredients that makes up Chinese Five Spice. It is also know for its numbing properties, which is said to mellow out very hot chilli dishes.
I recommend buying your Szechuan pepper whole, from your local asian specialty grocery store. You need to dry roast before use, this only take about 30 seconds in a wide skillet, with the temperature on high. You should smell the aroma’s immediately, and once the peppers heat through they should start to pop. I remove mine immediately at hearing this noise. You can grind your pepper with a pestle and mortar, or with an electric spice grinder.
Try to use your ground pepper as soon as possible, like any spice, fresh is best! I often have a pre-made spice mix on hand for a quick lunch or dinner.
Amie’s Szechuan Chilli Salt Mix 6 teaspoons Whole Szechuan pepper 3 1/2 teaspoons Rock Sea Salt (use less if your diet conscious or using a different variety of salt) 2 teaspoons Chilli Flkes 2 teaspoons Chilli Powder 3/4 cups of Tapioca Powder (or Potato Starch, or Cornflower)
- Dry roast the Szechuan pepper and salt until the pepper starts to pop.
- Remove from heat and grind with either a pestle and mortar, or in a spice grinder.
- In a bowl combine all ingredients, mix well to combine and store in an airtight jar.
This mix is great on chicken, duck, fish, pork, lamb or tofu. You can add more salt to taste if required, and of course, more chilli for more heat! Simply coat your protein in the mix and shallow fry (or deep if your not counting those calories). Enjoy!