Da Hong Pao Sichuan Pepper (Szechuan Peppercorn, 大红袍花椒)
Premium red Sichuan pepper (formerly Szechuan pepper) should have a strong citrusy fragrance and taste as well as an intense numbing quality. Ours is particularly potent, as it has not undergone the once-required heat-treatment process that for so long robbed Sichuan pepper of some of its punch. We believe we are the first to (legally) import untreated peppercorns, since Chinese suppliers uniformly heat-treat for the U.S. market.
A member of the citrus family, the Zanthoxylum genus includes numerous edible species of both red and green Sichuan pepper. The most famous red hua jiao, as Sichuan pepper is called in Sichuan, was historically grown in Hanyuan County, Sichuan, but just as popular—if not more so—in Sichuan nowadays is the da hong pao species grown in Gansu and other northern China provinces.
Da hong pao, or big red robe, is warm and woodsy, with a hint of menthol, compared to Hanyuan's bright, floral fragrance. This da hong pao is a single-origin spice grown in the Wudu area of Gansu Province. As of the 2019 harvest, we have a new supplier in Chengdu whose premium da hong pao has been sorted to include only opened seed pods and no seeds, which appear in abundance in lower-quality Sichuan pepper.
The harvested peppercorns went directly from farmers to our supplier for processing and safety testing. We at The Mala Market hand-package them weekly to insure freshness.
Usage: Sichuan peppercorns should not be eaten whole unless you want a real jolt, but they are fairly easy to eat around in dishes that use them whole. More frequently they are toasted and ground to a coarse or fine powder. Alternatively, you can heat them in hot oil to infuse the flavor and remove the peppercorns altogether.
To grind: Sort Sichuan peppercorns and discard any stray black seeds, twigs or thorns. Toast in a dry skillet or toaster oven until pods start to smell very fragrant, but do not brown them. Let peppercorns cool, then grind in a spice or coffee grinder or in a mortar & pestle to your desired coarseness. If you desire a fine powder, sift out any yellow husks that don't break down. Sichuan pepper powder will retain its potent flavor and numbing punch for only a few weeks, so grind in small batches.
To learn more about the history of Sichuan pepper in the U.S. and current sourcing in China, read this article we reported for Roads & Kingdoms and Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown.
Source: Grown in Wudu, Gansu Province
Size: 2 ounces (57 grams); 1 cup by volume
Ingredients: Single-origin Sichuan pepper. No additives or preservatives. Non-irradiated and non heat-treated
Recent customer feedback:
I have no idea what I was buying before that were supposedly Sichuan peppercorns, but yesterday after trying the chili oil I made with the peppercorns I bought from your store, I realized I had never really experienced true Sichuan peppercorns before. Wow! The numbing/tingling is really intense, and the citrus flavor is really pronounced. Such a different experience! I'm hooked! ~~Dhyana W.
Once a week I do a Chinese pop up in the space. I use your peppercorns every chance I can. The amount of mala oil I can make from just 2 oz of your SZ peppercorns is amazing. Honestly don't know if I would serve Sichuan food without them. I really feel you could charge three times the price and I wouldn't bat an eye! You all are truly unique in what you provide. I travel down to Chinatown in Boston every couple of weeks to pick up the rest of my ingredients and have tried every peppercorn in that city. They aren't even half as good! ~~Chef Dusty B.
Just opened this package of Sichuan peppercorns. The fragrance! Leapt into the air.~~Ruth Reichl on Instagram
From "These 10 Great Online Specialty Food Stores Have Everything" in Bon Appetit:
[The Mala Market] offer crazy good Sichuan peppercorns, which are complex, intense, and citrusy—as opposed to the bunk ones, which are bitter, not as aromatic, and lacking that crucial mouth-numbing quality.—Mari Uyehara