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Sichuan peppercorns were banned by the USDA from the late 60s through 2005 because they can carry citrus canker. Any now imported are heat-treated (sort of like pasturization) to kill the bacteria.

Probably the reason you haven't had it in restaurants or cookbooks aimed at a US market from that era.

Love the blog, btw! Thought you might be interested in the random Sichuan peppercorn trivia. :)

Thanks, I'm glad you like my blog.

The Sichuan ban wasn't enforced much until the early 2000s. I was able to fairly easily buy Sichuan peppercorns before then.

Ban aside, I think they wouldn't have been used much in Americanized Chinese food because, 1) Sichuan dishes were much less common compared to Cantonese, and 2) most Americans, generally speaking, would not have liked it then. (Just think what Americanize Chinese food was like in the 70s and early 80s!)

Lisa

Whoo hoo! I just got some Sichuan peppercorns from Penzey's in the mail yesterday and was digging around for a recipe--as you mentioned most of the ones I turned up don't include the Sichuan peppercorns. Thanks for the recipe!

I like this dish a lot, might have to try to make it myself. Thanks!

"Sichuan peppercorns were banned by the USDA from the late 60s through 2005 because they can carry citrus canker."

I keep hearing this, yet I have been buying them continuously for many years. Either this is a myth, or a whole lot of Chinese groceries weren't told of the ban.

While I haven't been able to find anything on the USDA site, I don't think the ban is a myth. The ban supposedly wasn't well-enforced until 2002, and even after that time, people were probably still bringing it in. Here's a link to a New York Times article about the ban (unfortunately reading the full article requires payment but the abstract is pretty good evidence for the existence of a ban):

Click here for abstract (the link is really long)

You may very well like this recipe, my favorite so far. It's simple and "clean," and the ingredients shine through.

I use Szechuan/Sichuan peppercorns by first dry roasting them in a pan and then putting them into a pepper mill/grinder.

Excellent on chicken or turkey sandwiches. And also my "secret" ingredient on my Thanksgiving turkey.

I'm a Canadian reader living in Toronto. I've gone to various spice stores to find sichuan peppercorns, without any success. "They will come tomorrow", but tomorrow never comes. I probably should have tried Chinatown.

I found a place in downtown Toronto called, "The Spice Trader". www.thespicetrader.ca/
They sell organic spices exclusively, online or in person.

I hope that this helps.

Hi. I just got Land of Plenty in the mail yesterday. Luckily, there is a Sichuan-style asian cafe and market right down the street from my house so I was able to find all these ingredients very easily. (except the Facing Heaven chilies)

I made the Kung Pao Chicken for lunch today.....fantastic. The sichuan peppercorns are unlike anything I've tried before; they are very flavorful!

I was thinking of making the Dan Dan Noodles next, and then perhaps one of the dumpling recipes.

Dan Dan noodles are another favorite of ours. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Love the blog! I've struggled with finding high quality sichuan pepper (Huajiao) in the states for a number of years now. I became thoroughly addicted to the stuff while living in China. So far, all that I've found stateside has had a much stronger citrus tang but lacks the numbness kick. How do you rank Penzey's Huajiao in comparison to what you've used before?

Ate this stuff virtually everyday for months back when i was living in Beijing. In the beginning i had some problem with the peppercorns, they kinda tasted like detergent i thought, but they grow on you! Now I've been having cravings for nearly a year but haven't been able to find a recipe that looks to be the the real deal before this one. Thanks a lot!

I used to eat this all the time when I went to Beijing and stayed with my girlfriend's family. I'd order it from the restaurant downstairs. This recipe is awesome, very authentic. Thanks so much for sharing!

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