Sichuan Pepper / Szechuan Peppercorn Chili Pepper
Sichuan and Szechuan peppers are one and the same, just spelled differently. It is often known as Chinese coriander as well. The Sichuan has a unique flavor and aroma and it’s not as hot as many popular peppers. It is actually considered to taste citrusy, or lemony and it will create a feeling of numbness sin the mouth. This is not because they are pungent, it’s because they produce the strange bussing, tingling or numbing sensation similar to a carbonated drink does.
Growing the Sichuan Pepper
Even though obtaining peppercorns can be expensive, growing the plant is very easy. Just plant this small bush and trim it to the desired size as it grows. Always mulch the base of the plant as this is an essential element contributing to its growth. The plant needs to be far away from citrus plants as they can carry a worm that can harm these varieties. Harvesting is done as soon as the red seed pods start to open and the dark seed is revealed. This usually occurs just about the time it’s transitioning from summer to autumn. The peppercorns can be stored in an airtight container out of the sunlight until ready to use.
Uses of the Sichuan Chili Pepper
The Sichuan peppercorn is usually toasted while it’s still in the very small seed pods. Then they are crushed right before being added to dishes. The seeds are tossed out and the husks are the only part that is used and they are usually added at the last possible moment to add flavor to soups and a variety of foods. These chilies can also be made into an oil and used for stir-frying. There is also a traditional Chinese spice called Hua jiao Yan that has salt, pepper and Sichuan peppers together. It is very important to the Indonesian Batak cuisine and Sichuan peppers are one of only a few spices important to certain dishes from the Himalayas since there are not many spices that will grow there. It is used in a variety of meat dishes and it can also be used as a medicine. Most commonly, it is used for stomach problems.
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