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Sichuan Peppercorns?

Sichuan Peppercorns?
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  • Sichuan Peppercorns?

    Post #1 - December 30th, 2004, 3:48 am
    Post #1 - December 30th, 2004, 3:48 am Post #1 - December 30th, 2004, 3:48 am
    Does anyone have solid info about the importation status of sichuan pepercorns? Last year I heard that importation was being banned because they carried some kind of virus that was extremely harmful to citrus crops. So I hoarded as many as I could find since I use a lot of them.

    Recently I was in an Asian grocery store and there in the Vietnamese section were tons of these things. At least they look and smell like them. They were labeled "Dried Pepper Corn - Hoa Tieu from China".

    A Google search turns up a number of sites which mention that they are again available for sale.

    Macon Telegraph on 5/26/04 wrote:"But, in what could be the best news for foodies since Ben met Jerry, the U.S. Agriculture Department recently announced that peppercorns heat-treated to 140 degrees for 10 minutes can be imported"


    I couldn't find anything at the USDA site about either the ban or the lifting of it. I'm wondering if what I have are legal heat-treated or old ones from before the ban or contraband. Again, does anyone have any solid info about the status of the ban?

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #2 - December 30th, 2004, 9:13 am
    Post #2 - December 30th, 2004, 9:13 am Post #2 - December 30th, 2004, 9:13 am
    During a visit to the spice house a number of months ago they said the ban had been lifted (if you heat-treat) and they'd have sichuan peppercorns any day now. They still don't, as far as I know..

    -ed
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - December 30th, 2004, 11:52 am
    Post #3 - December 30th, 2004, 11:52 am Post #3 - December 30th, 2004, 11:52 am
    I had a nice chat with a fellow at The Spice House in November and he confirmed that, though the ban's been lifted, they wouldn't receive sichuan peppercorn anytime soon. Last September I tracked some down in Chinatown in an apothcary whose name escapes me. However, just a couple of weeks ago I saw them in the Chinatown Market. That's the market inbetween the outdoor mall and Chinatown proper.
    Unfortunately, these peppercorns are the dark, wizened variety(not approved by Fuscia Dunlop). They're good for sichuan pepper/salt condiment, not much else.
  • Post #4 - December 30th, 2004, 8:02 pm
    Post #4 - December 30th, 2004, 8:02 pm Post #4 - December 30th, 2004, 8:02 pm
    I recently purchased Sichuan Peppercorns at Viet Hoa Grocery (1101 W Argyle St, Chicago, IL 60640). They seemed fairly fresh - the peppers had that lemony, pungent quality, and cooked well in the recent dishes I've made.
  • Post #5 - March 30th, 2005, 4:04 pm
    Post #5 - March 30th, 2005, 4:04 pm Post #5 - March 30th, 2005, 4:04 pm
    I finally got Land of Plenty and am looking to stock up on dry goods. Is there a particular grocer in Chinatown that is good and carries sichuan peppercorns? Thanks.
  • Post #6 - March 30th, 2005, 7:13 pm
    Post #6 - March 30th, 2005, 7:13 pm Post #6 - March 30th, 2005, 7:13 pm
    I've purchased sichuan peppercorn from two purveyors in Chinatown: Chinatown Market and an apothecary adjacent(on the street, not in the mall) to the market. Both purchases are unfortunately indistinguishable from Japanese Sansho; dry, wizened husks. They're good for salt/sichuan peppercorn condiment and not much else. I've yet to encounter the fresh sichuan peppercorn described in Dunlop's book.
  • Post #7 - April 5th, 2005, 6:25 pm
    Post #7 - April 5th, 2005, 6:25 pm Post #7 - April 5th, 2005, 6:25 pm
    they had sichuan peppercorns at mayflower (est end of the chinatown mall) recently, of decent quality, though it wasn't labeled as such maybe just pepper? I forget, but they're easily identifiable.
  • Post #8 - May 26th, 2005, 11:51 am
    Post #8 - May 26th, 2005, 11:51 am Post #8 - May 26th, 2005, 11:51 am
    This from the Spice House Newsletter today:

    SICHUAN PEPPERCORNS ARE BACK.
    Returning after a long hiatus, we are happy to announce that Sichuan Peppercorns are back in our roster of spices. The Sichuan peppercorn isn’t a rare or expensive spice; its absence was due to a 1968 ban on importation caused by a canker it was afflicted with. This in no way harmed humans but it affected citrus crops. The ban was only enforced in the last few years when the canker became a devastating problem to the citrus industry in Florida. In January of 2004 a heat treatment for Sichuan peppercorns was approved to allow importation, and they are now finally available.

    http://www.thespicehouse.com
    I exist in Chicago, but I live in New Orleans.
  • Post #9 - May 26th, 2005, 1:00 pm
    Post #9 - May 26th, 2005, 1:00 pm Post #9 - May 26th, 2005, 1:00 pm
    Awesome. I was already planning a general restocking trip in the next few days.
  • Post #10 - July 6th, 2005, 7:50 am
    Post #10 - July 6th, 2005, 7:50 am Post #10 - July 6th, 2005, 7:50 am
    ChiNOLA wrote:This from the Spice House Newsletter today:

    SICHUAN PEPPERCORNS ARE BACK.

    ChiNOLA,

    I bought a couple of ounces of The Spice House's Sichuan peppercorns and they are quite nice. Different than Sichuan peppercorns I have used in the past as these are very fresh, not 100% dried. No twigs and stems, just peppercorns.

    I have not used the Spice House Sichuan peppercorns in cooking as of yet, but I did chew on one for a bit and it had nice flavor, though possibly not quite as intense as those as I've had in the past. My tastebuds might have been a bit off though as I was having a large batch of BBQ rub made up and had been sampling the rub in various stages prior to munching on the Sichuan peppercorn.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #11 - July 6th, 2005, 10:08 am
    Post #11 - July 6th, 2005, 10:08 am Post #11 - July 6th, 2005, 10:08 am
    I've been enjoying The Spice House sichuan peppercorns for awhile now.
    They're much fresher than others I've found elsewhere. They give a pleasent, fizzy, low-voltage kick to the lips, tip of the tongue and back of the throat. I toasted some for chili oil and dipping salt. I also enjoy springing them str8 on friends unfamiliar with the effect. ;)
  • Post #12 - July 9th, 2005, 8:04 am
    Post #12 - July 9th, 2005, 8:04 am Post #12 - July 9th, 2005, 8:04 am
    does anybody have a recipe that really highlights the flavor of these? I just got my first bag and they smell so interesting...I just don't know a good way to use them!
  • Post #13 - July 9th, 2005, 8:56 am
    Post #13 - July 9th, 2005, 8:56 am Post #13 - July 9th, 2005, 8:56 am
    Do you have "The Breath of a Wok" by Grace Young? The first recipe in the book, Chicken with Sichuan Peppercorns CCTI, is just so darn good, I've made it a dozen times this year. I couldn't find a link to it on the net, but this is a "must have" book.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #14 - July 9th, 2005, 8:57 am
    Post #14 - July 9th, 2005, 8:57 am Post #14 - July 9th, 2005, 8:57 am
    For investigation into the use of sichuan peppercorn I highly recommend Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty.
  • Post #15 - July 9th, 2005, 11:18 am
    Post #15 - July 9th, 2005, 11:18 am Post #15 - July 9th, 2005, 11:18 am
    Here's the recipe Bill is talking about, I think.

    You can order the book from amazon here.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #16 - July 9th, 2005, 10:46 pm
    Post #16 - July 9th, 2005, 10:46 pm Post #16 - July 9th, 2005, 10:46 pm
    that chicken looks delicious! i'll let you know how it goes...

    after that article about exotic ice creams in the Tribune last week, i have to say that the thought of sichuan peppercorn & fruit ice cream has crossed my mind as well...
  • Post #17 - July 11th, 2005, 9:59 pm
    Post #17 - July 11th, 2005, 9:59 pm Post #17 - July 11th, 2005, 9:59 pm
    so, i made the chicken stir-fry last night using the peppercorns, and it was out of this world. the only thing i might do differently next time is add some veggies to make more of a single-dish meal out of it, because it's meant to be served alongside lots of other items. it really showcased the peppercorns' distinctive flavors.

    thanks!
  • Post #18 - July 12th, 2005, 9:37 am
    Post #18 - July 12th, 2005, 9:37 am Post #18 - July 12th, 2005, 9:37 am
    Christopher Gordon wrote:For investigation into the use of sichuan peppercorn I highly recommend Fuschia Dunlop's Land of Plenty.


    I too highly, highly recommend the dunlop book. For instance the very easy recipe on p143 for cold chicken with sichuan pepper and sesame oil sauce.

    basically the sauce is teaspoon of whole s. peppercorns, ground. 5 scallions(green only) whizzed into a paste, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 Tbsp stock, 2 Tbsp light soy, 1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil. That's it, stir it all up, and you have a great dressing, that it good for summer, uses up some of the extra scallion greens, and showcases the Peppercorns.

    We use it on left over Roast Chicken (as long the chicken itself wasn't highly seasoned) or steamed asian eggplants
  • Post #19 - July 12th, 2005, 12:13 pm
    Post #19 - July 12th, 2005, 12:13 pm Post #19 - July 12th, 2005, 12:13 pm
    The Spice House in Old Town now has a nice, fresh supply of Sechuan peppercorns. I bought some. Now I need a recipe to use them in. Any suggestions?
  • Post #20 - July 12th, 2005, 12:15 pm
    Post #20 - July 12th, 2005, 12:15 pm Post #20 - July 12th, 2005, 12:15 pm
    Sorry, I didn't read far enough down the page. Obviously my previous post was a tad redundant.
  • Post #21 - July 13th, 2005, 10:51 am
    Post #21 - July 13th, 2005, 10:51 am Post #21 - July 13th, 2005, 10:51 am
    gleam wrote:Here's the recipe Bill is talking about, I think.

    Ed,

    Yes, that the exact recipe Bill/SFNM referenced, I just checked. Page 68 The Breath of a Wok by Grace Young.

    I think I'll make it, Chicken with Sichuan Peppercorns, for dinner tonight.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #22 - July 13th, 2005, 9:17 pm
    Post #22 - July 13th, 2005, 9:17 pm Post #22 - July 13th, 2005, 9:17 pm
    G Wiv wrote:I think I'll make it, Chicken with Sichuan Peppercorns, for dinner tonight.

    Turned out quite nice, easy to make, once you prep the various stages, and excellent flavor. Surprisingly, I was out of chile oil, so I made a small amount by infusing crushed red in simmering peanut oil. Only slight modification for next time is I could have used a little more Sichuan Peppercorn bite.

    My wife thought the dish delicious. Thanks for the recommendation Bill/SFNM. Any additional suggestions from The Breath of a Wok?

    Sichuan Peppercorns.
    Image

    Mise en place
    Image

    Stir fry the chicken
    Image

    Add the aromatics
    Image

    Add sauce ingredients.
    Image

    I love my Hitachi non-fuzzy logic 15-year-old rice cooker.
    Image

    Ready to go.
    Image

    Time to eat.
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - July 14th, 2005, 6:26 am
    Post #23 - July 14th, 2005, 6:26 am Post #23 - July 14th, 2005, 6:26 am
    Gary,

    Glad you and your wife enjoyed the chicken. I think I use a much hotter wok than you do since mine comes out looking quite a bit different from yours. The chicken has a much darker glaze and the liquid is almost completely cooked away. It takes just a minute for it to cook and I can barely see what is going on in the wok through all the smoke and steam. I'll take photos next time I make it.

    Virginia Yee's Moo Shoo Pork (p. 84) is excellent, especially with smoked pork belly (omit the marinate). Also, try Shrimp and Pine Nuts (p. 114) and Brocolli with Ginger Sauce (p. 140). They're all good!

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #24 - July 14th, 2005, 7:04 am
    Post #24 - July 14th, 2005, 7:04 am Post #24 - July 14th, 2005, 7:04 am
    Bill/SFNM wrote:Gary,

    Glad you and your wife enjoyed the chicken. I think I use a much hotter wok than you do since mine comes out looking quite a bit different from yours.

    Bill,

    Good observation, you're absolutely right, I did not crank my wok up last night. Not really sure why, though it's kind of ironic given I was making a recipe from The Breath of a Wok.

    Looking forward to your pictures, but please do not make the Sichuan Peppercorn Chicken look as good as the pizza you recently posted, I took a bite out of the monitor and broke a tooth.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #25 - July 23rd, 2005, 3:32 pm
    Post #25 - July 23rd, 2005, 3:32 pm Post #25 - July 23rd, 2005, 3:32 pm
    G Wiv wrote:I think I'll make it, Chicken with Sichuan Peppercorns, for dinner tonight.
    Made this for dinner last night, turned out great. Thanks for the pictures, and thanks to Bill for the recipe link!
  • Post #26 - July 24th, 2005, 3:48 pm
    Post #26 - July 24th, 2005, 3:48 pm Post #26 - July 24th, 2005, 3:48 pm
    Sichuan peppercorn was what the 'curator', Mr. Cho? of the Chinese BBQ tour was talkin about while he was giving the recipe for the stock of soy sauce chicken @ Wing Chan. not coriander. definitely NOT coriander.

    per this link:
    http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/gen ... t_pip.html

    the 2 spices (beyond the 5 spice power) commonly used in every pot of soy sauce based stew is : ba jiǎo (star of anise) and hua jiāo (sichuan peppercorn). as Cathy reminded me in the back of Win Chan's kitchen, yes, you can wrap the 2 up in cheesecloth and toss it in the pot. but as a teenager, i was lazy and always got yelled at when the parents bit in the random hua jiāo.
  • Post #27 - July 28th, 2005, 12:11 pm
    Post #27 - July 28th, 2005, 12:11 pm Post #27 - July 28th, 2005, 12:11 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Looking forward to your pictures, but please do not make the Sichuan Peppercorn Chicken look as good as the pizza you recently posted, I took a bite out of the monitor and broke a tooth.


    Gary,

    Here are the photos. At your request, I used a special Photoshop filter to make the chicken look less delicious.

    Image
    Image

    Bill/SFNM
    Last edited by Bill/SFNM on November 1st, 2006, 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #28 - November 5th, 2005, 12:23 pm
    Post #28 - November 5th, 2005, 12:23 pm Post #28 - November 5th, 2005, 12:23 pm
    I found an online source for these and thought of you guys here. I know there are places that carry them and you know the quality, etc...but I just thought I'd throw this out there if anyone was looking for an online resource:

    http://www.spicesetc.com/ShowView/product/2767/12

    The prices look pretty reasonable if you intend to order a large quantity.

    Also, these things numb up my entire mouth for a fair amount of time! I was very scared I was having an allergic reaction when I came across them in some take out once...my husband did not have the same response (once I figured out what was causing it, of course I made him try one). Is my reaction strong enough to border on being mildly allergic? I have stayed away from them since as it wasn't exactly pleasant.

    Christine
  • Post #29 - November 5th, 2005, 12:41 pm
    Post #29 - November 5th, 2005, 12:41 pm Post #29 - November 5th, 2005, 12:41 pm
    They're also available, for a much lower price, online from The Spice House, where 1oz costs you $1.59, versus $3.95 from Spices Etc. Of course, as volume goes up the difference in price goes down.

    And the numbing effect is very normal.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #30 - November 5th, 2005, 3:23 pm
    Post #30 - November 5th, 2005, 3:23 pm Post #30 - November 5th, 2005, 3:23 pm
    and if you happen to be in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, Kalustyan's carries a slightly older batch than those available from The Spice House. They look useable, but I can get mine a few blocks away.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie

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