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Old 08-21-2005, 05:25 AM   #1
Senior Cook
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Purchase and use of Sichuan pepper?

There is an amazing Oriental supermarket near where I live and I noticed that they sell two kinds of Sichuan pepper (in peppercorn form).

One is greenish, the other brownish/reddish.

Can anyone tell me the difference?

I'm also a bit worried about the due date, which is 6 months from now. Could the pepper seriously go off after that?

Other than the obvious (Chinese dishes), what dishes do you specifically use Sichuan pepper with?

Last, but not least, do any of you put it into the pepper mill with black, white, and red pepper?

Best regards,
Alex R.

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Old 08-21-2005, 06:44 AM   #2
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I know that they were/are banned in the U.S. I don't know what the green ones are...they could be possibly ones that are not dried in which case you'd have to dry them yourself to harness their potential. Read on. www.google.com is so helpful these days.

Sichuan Pepper

The Sichuan Pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum, Zanthoxylum simulans, Zanthoxylum sancho and some other species in the genus Zanthoxylum) is not a member of the pepper family. It is the outer pod of the tiny fruit of a plant related to the pricklyash.
It is known in Chinese as 花椒 huājiāo (faa1jiu1 in some dialects), literally "flower pepper"; a lesser-used name is 山椒 shānjiāo, "mountain pepper". In Japanese these same characters (山椒) are pronounced sanshō, which can also be written in kana as サンショウ. In Tibetan, it is known as emma. It is widely used in the cuisine of Śchuān province, from which it takes its name (Śchuān used to be spelt Szechuan).

Culinary uses

The taste of Sichuan Pepper is not hot like black or red pepper, but is a kind of tingly numbness (caused by its 3% of hydroxy-alpha-sanshool) that sets the stage for these hot spices. Recipes often suggest lightly toasting and then crushing the tiny seedpods before adding them to food. It is generally added at the last moment. Star aniseed and ginger are often used with it and it figures prominently in spicy Sichuan cuisine. It is considered to go well with fish, duck and chicken dishes.

It is also available as an oil (marketed as either "Sichuan Pepper Oil" or "Hwajiaw Oil"). In this form it is best used in stir fry noodle dishes without hot spices. The preferred recipe includes ginger oil and brown sugar to be cooked with a base of noodles and vegetables, with rice vinegar and Sichuan Pepper oil to be added after cooking.

花椒腌 (huājiāoyān) is a mixture of salt and Sichuan Pepper, roasted and browned in a wok and served as a condiment to accompany chicken, duck and pork dishes. The peppercorns can also be lightly fried in order to make a spicy oil with various uses.

Sichuan Pepper is one of the few spices important for Tibetan and Bhutani cookery of the Himalayas, because few spices can be grown there. The national dish of Tibet are momos, a pasta stuffed with yak and flavoured with Sichuan Pepper, garlic, ginger and onion. The noodles are steamed and served dry, together with a fiery sauce. Tibetans believe it can sanitize meat that may not be so fresh.

In Japan the dried and powdered leaves of Zanthoxylum sancho are used to make noodle dishes and soups mildly hot and fragrant. The whole leaves, 木の芽 kinome, are used to flavour vegetables, especially bamboo shoots, and to decorate soups.

Sichuan peppercorns are one of the traditional ingredients in the Chinese spice mixture five-spice powder and also shichimi togarashi, a Japanese seven-flavour seasoning.
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Old 08-21-2005, 10:44 AM   #3
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The ban has been lifted recently.
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