Sichuan Flower Pepper
The Sichuanese do not call Sichuan pepper "Sichuan pepper." They call it hua jiao, which means flower pepper, and when you see a perfect specimen of the numbing spice you understand why. The best of the best Sichuan pepper opens into three heart-shaped sections for the appearance of a six-petaled flower. Our new Sichuan Flower Pepper, a special grade da hong pao, has been hand-sorted to include a high percentage of flower-shaped pepper, so we've translated this one literally!
What to look for in the best Sichuan pepper:
- Large seed pods, fully opened into a flower
- Deep red color
- No seeds or twigs
- From most recent harvest
- Not heat-treated or irradiated
If all these boxes are checked, you can be fairly certain that you will get an immensely flavorful and potent Sichuan peppercorn. Use Flower Pepper when you want to wow both the tastebuds and the eyes. They look particularly good in dishes like stir-fried greens or Chongqing chicken, where their large size makes them easy to spot and eat around. (They also look great floating in a cocktail.)
Here's a recent Ruth Reichl haiku from Instagram about our da hong pao Sichuan pepper: "Just opened this package of Sichuan peppercorns. The fragrance! Leapt into the air."