Unsettling at first, that tingly feeling of electricity offered a pleasant reprieve from the heat. 10. Authentic Szechuan peppercorns. The tandem combination of burning and numbing from these two ingredients is known in Chinese as málà. Peppercorns, Szechuan. Have you tried the green Szechuan Peppercons? With its only additive a negligible amount of salt, the only truly natural peanut butter in the lineup elicited comments ranging from mild dissatisfaction ("needs enhancement with salt and sugar") to outright disgust ("slithery," "chalky," "inedible").

I know you asked for Szechuan specifically, but have you ever tried Tellicherry peppercorns? These red-brown peppercorns are well known for their flavor and unique aroma. The seasoning’s English label is a misnomer, as the “peppercorns” are actually husks of dried berries from a type of prickly ash shrub. The most difficult types of cuisine and recipes I come across is Szechuan. However, it turned out a respectable batch of cookies—"chewy in the center, crisp and short at the edge"—and made "perfectly good" satay sauce. You can tell the quality by two methods.

America's Test Kitchen did a taste test and liked Dean and Deluca best, with Savoryspiceshop.com next as a a best buy. If you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter called "The Essential List".

Sichuan peppercorns produce a phenomenon called paraesthesia, ... “As a foreigner, I wasn’t 100% convinced that hotpot was the best, or even that delicious. I put the peppercorns into some heated oil and let them sit there for a few minutes until it became aromatic. The chillies didn’t wait long before beckoning me for another bite. The numbing effect is weak, but it does exist, and there are fewer of the black inner seeds than with the other brands. Look for peppercorns that are a lighter red color, the older and more heated (by law they can't be imported completely raw) they've been, the darker they become and less flavorful. Cookies were "dry and crumbly" with a "hockey puck" texture, and the satay sauce was "stiff," "gritty," and "gloopy.". The inclusion of flax seed oil, an unsaturated fat that's highly susceptible to rancidity. The frenzy of flavours set off firecrackers on my tongue, quietened moments later by the welcome sensation of numbness. Get FREE ACCESS to every recipe and rating from theis season of our TV show.

jar (15 cents per oz. They are imported directly from Sichuan Province China. Sichuan pepper oil is the strongest stuff I've been able to find locally. The only other palm oil-based peanut butter to make the "recommended" cut, this contender had a "looser" texture than its winning sibling but still won fans for being "super-smooth." They have are just as numbing as the red ones but with a unique limey smell. Of course, there's always the convenient option of shopping for the spice online. You need a few things, and an asian grocery store is the only place I've found them. “It really does make a huge difference in the taste,” she said. “Sichuan peppercorn not only adds fragrance but also helps combat dampness.”, Despite not feeling hungry at first, my stomach became a bottomless pit as I continued eating. Remove, grind, put it in a fine mesh shifter, this will remove the bits of husk that have that texture. Our original winning sichuan peppercorns, Dean & DeLuca Szechuan Peppercorns, have been discontinued. Plus, as the top-rated palm oil-based sample, it was "creamy," "thick," and better emulsified than other "natural" contenders. They still didn't give out the mouth numbing flavor I was looking for. “The wealthy people in Sichuan ate a lot of beef, but they saw the offal as unrefined, something to throw away. And despite not feeling hungry at first, my stomach became a bottomless pit as I continued eating; the Sichuan peppercorn was also soothing my mouth with its vaguely anaesthetic prickliness, enabling me to eat more by rendering the spice of the chillies a little less fiery. Highly humid weather, which Chengdu experiences year-round, is said to create dampness in the body, which can lead to headaches and bloating.

I think it’s great,” said Luo. It was recommended to me by my Malaysian mother-in-law (and she knows spicy food!) But, as I learned in Chengdu, there’s an addictive quality to that one-two punch. We detected everything from deep, earthy notes of pine and black tea to the more floral, herbal fragrance of citrus and mint, which translated to the same complex spectrum of flavors. If chefs can get their hands on it, fresh Sichuan peppercorn at its full potential may have myriad applications even beyond Sichuan cuisine. Though it says "no-stir" on the label, this "stiff" palm-oil enriched peanut butter was "weeping oil" and came across as "greasy" to some tasters.