QingXi Sichuan Pepper
QingXi Sichuan Pepper
- In Depth
Name: Sichuan pepper, Sichuanpeppar, Hua Jiao, Xanthoxylum piperitum
Origin: QingXi, Sichuan, China
Farmer: Li Family
Weight: 24 g
Character: Uniquely flowery, electric, citrus that runs through your mouth, vibrating your receptors, binding together flavors in one great symphony.
Pair with: Sesame, kummin, star anise, cardamom, orange, salvia, paprika, smoked flavors, rice vinegar, Chinkiang Vinegar, chili, beans, pork, Korean chili, heaven facing chili, tofu, chili oil, dough, oil, beans, noodle soups, peanuts, fish, Gulasch, green beans, fermented soya beans, bamboo shoots, cabbage, brown sugar, lime, beef, mayo, lamb, lotus root, crayfish, garlic, spring onion, lettuce, black current.
What a spice! This Sichuan pepper is absolute heaven for anyone wanting to indulge into Sichuan cuisine. It has such an elegant floral taste that none can be compared and it so much fun to cook with. It comes from the Li family in the small village of Qingxi just on the fringes of the tibetan plateau and has taken us some years to source.
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Sichuanese food is out of this world. We think it is one of the most delicious and interesting cuisines on the globe. How can there be such an unbelievable complexity and depth of flavor. Flowery, salty, sweet, spicy, sour, umami, bitterness. Fermentations, pickles. Dried, fresh. Steamed, stir fried, dry fried, grilled, water soaked, dry braised, sauteed.
Legends talk of over 6000 traditional dishes created from 23 fixed flavors and 58 different cooking methods. And at the core of it all, Ma La, the link up of hot and numbing, when chili marries Sichuan Pepper. When cooking with Sichuan Pepper it is about finding a symphony between all these flavors and cooking methods. Understand how they enhance each other. No other flavor should be at the expense of the other.
The Sichuan peppers in your package are very potent, flowery taste bombs. They are considered some of the best in the world for a reason. It does takes some error and trial to get to know them, slowly discovering what harmony can arise with other tastes, but it is definitely worth the challenge as it will open a door to a whole new way of cooking. Roasting and toasting your pepper is a good idea before applying it to your dish.
Youtube have a lot of wonderful Sichuan recipes so go for a explore. If you have the opportunity another great way to make this food taste better is to go out and explore your local Chinese and asian food marts. They have a bunch of great products that will elevate dishes. Fermented black bean paste, Shaoxing wine, Heaven facing chili, Chinkiang vinegar, Korean red chili, light soy, rice vinegar. There are a bunch of great complementaries.
Sichuan pepper refers to a spice obtained from a group of closely related plants of genus Zanthoxylum, a distant relative to citrus family. Varieties of Sichuan Pepper is found all over Asia and has been used by highland people in China, Nepal, Japan, Korea, India, Laos and Taiwan for centuries due to the plants ability to survive harsh cold weather.
Sichuan itself is a melting pot of culture, traditions, cultivation and natural splendour. Home of the last pandas, ancient trade routes and the rise of Mao. And the food is just amazing. More than 81 million people live in this province located in southwest China. The capital Chengdu is a cool, modern city with a bustling art, business and science scene.
The Sichuan Pepper we have is grown by the Li Family in the Han Yuan Valley at around 3000 meter above sea level in Qingxi, one of the old, mysterious gateways to the ancient tea horse road. The ancient tea horse road was once a vast networks of treacherous and rough trade routes stretching from central China all the way to the bay of Bengal and beyond. The Li family have been cultivating Hua Jiao as it is called in mandarin for generations.
QingXi is actually one of the first recorded places of sichuan pepper plantations and legends says it was here is started. For 300 years the village sent sichuan pepper as a tribute to the imperial courts of China because of the superior taste, aroma and color. It has a very unique taste. Intense and distinctly floral, with a numbing effect that sets your taste buds on a culinary journey unlike any other we have tried. Unlike chili which has a burning sensation when eaten flower pepper evokes a numbing sensation, an electric feeling. This is due to a molecule found in the plant activating receptors that send stimuli to your brain telling it that you are experiencing vibration.