Sichuan Peppercorns are a secret ingredient that helps add an authentic taste to many Chinese spicy foods. Unlike chili peppers which add a heat that builds on the tongue, Sichuan peppercorns provide a numbing flavor which the Chinese call “ma”. If you have been lucky enough to have authentic Sichuan cuisine you will recognize the trademark “tingly crawly” sensation on the tongue and lips that it imparts.
You will probably not be able to find Sichuan Peppercorn oil in stores, but all Chinese stores and many Asian markets will carry the peppercorns. I know Uwajimaya has it in stock in their Chinese spice section.
Sichuan Peppercorns are not actually peppercorns but and are actually related to the citrus family. They look a little bit like cracked open pink peppercorns that are hollow inside.
- 1/4 cup sichuan peppercorns
- 1/2 cup cooking oil
- Measure out the peppercorns and set aside.
- In a non-stick small pot over high heat add the oil and wait until it hits it smoke point. It will have some wispy smoke tendrils appear on the surface. Using gloves and an apron to prevent splatter on your skin an clothes, dump the peppercorns into the hot oil. Immediately remove from heat and stir until it stops sputtering.
- Let cool for at least 2 hours to develop flavor and then strain out peppercorns and place the oil in a small jar and store in the fride (up to 6mos)