image source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan_pepper image source:http://www.zgghmh.com/product/317929.html
You probably have noticed that in many recipes I shared here, I use ground Sichuan peppercorn, instead of the whole Sichuan peppercorn, especially in stir-fried dishes. But I have had quite a few friends asking me about ground Sichuan peppercorn, which is not easy to find in Chinese supermarkets.
I have noticed this long time ago, so whenever I go back home, I would bring some packs back. But, for example, at the moment, I have run out of it — a few packs cannot last for very long, especially for somebody like me, who uses it almost every day for cooking.
Most Chinese supermarkets (in UK) sell mostly Cantonese products, and in Cantonese food ground Sichuan peppercorn is rarely used. Last time when we were in Spain, I did see it on the shelves of some Chinese supermarkets — the sellers of those supermarkets are commonly from mainland China, near Shanghai. —Don’t laugh at me, yes, I bought some back. :)) Although I am still using it, the taste is not the same — almost too ‘mild’.
I recently talked to my dad, and asked him to bring some for me when he comes to visit next time. Then my dad told me how to make it at home!!
He said that, in the past, ground Sichuan peppercorn was not easy to buy in the countryside, so people living far away from cities came up with their own solution — making their own type of ground Sichuan peppercorn.
I haven’t got the photos ready yet, but this is roughly the method.
Unlike the normal black peppercorn, which can be put into the peppercorn grinder directly, Sichuan peppercorn normally requires ‘stir-frying’ first. Sit the wok on medium fire, when the wok is warm enough, add Sichuan peppercorns into the empty wok, without adding any oil, stir fry for a few minutes — be careful for not getting them burnt. After removing them from the wok, let them cool down. Then, for example, my grandma would ‘lay’ them on the preparation board, and use rolling pin to ‘crush’ them into kind of powder. And the ‘powder’ can be ‘saved’ in a small jar for using in the future. So I think after ‘stir-frying’ them, they can also be ground in the peppercorn grinder. — There you go, this way you can get the pure ground Sichuan peppercorn. And I don’t have to bring it back from China anymore.
— Hope this helps. :))) Have a good weekend!! There was plenty sunshine over here, almost feel warm spring is here. :)