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Can't decide which Sichuan pepper to try? Want to have three different and distinct flavor profiles to choose from for making Sichuan dishes? Then this collection of three types of Sichuan peppercorns (formerly Szechuan peppercorns) may be the answer. Included in the Sichuan Pepper Sampler are 1 ounce each of red Hanyuan pepper, Big Red Pao (da hong pao) pepper, and green Sichuan pepper. (About 1/2 cup of each type.)
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" is grown in Hanyuan County, Sichuan. It is small, dark red and slightly floral. Equally if not more popular in Sichuan nowadays is the da hong pao, or big red pao, species, which is larger, brighter red and slightly tart. Green Sichuan pepper, which is bright, vegetal and piney, is widely used with fish, chicken and vegetable dishes.
Premium Sichuan 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) bring in untreated peppercorns, since Chinese suppliers uniformly heat-treat for the U.S. market.
This Sichuan pepper is from the fall 2018 harvest. As a premium product, it is sorted to include mostly opened seed pods and few stems and seeds, which appear in abundance in lower-quality Sichuan pepper. (Due to its shape, the green Sichuan pepper retains some seeds within the pods.) These Sichuan peppercorns go direct from farmer to our supplier in Chengdu for processing and meet strict U.S. safety standards. We at The Mala Market hand-pack them weekly.
Go here for more information on Sichuan pepper or details on how to roast and grind the peppercorns to use as a powder. You'll also find recipes for numerous Sichuan dishes that feature hua jiao.
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.Source: Grown in Hanyuan County, Sichuan Province; Jinyang County, Sichuan Province; and Wudu, Gansu Province