I’ve just finished reading Shark’s Fin & Sichuan Pepper by Fuchsia Dunlop; A sweet-sour memoir of eating in China.
I have been somewhat obsessed by the tongue numbing tingly effects of the sichuan peppercorn for sometime now and am learning how best to cook with it. I have picked up a few tips from Kylie Kwong who advocates making a sichuan pepper and salt mix, filling your kitchen with its alluring aroma as you toast the two together in your pan.
I have enjoyed it as a spice rub on tiny succulent quail at Non La in Surry Hills. I have been overwhelmed at Spice Temple by Neil Perry’s heavenly facing chillies and sichuan pepper fish where the waiter scoops away ladles full of chillies to reveal a broth swimming with sichuan pepper.
So if you have any curiosity about sichuan pepper or the food history of China’s regional cusines, in particular the region of Sichuan and the city of Chengdu then pick up Fuchsia’s book, it’s fun and will have you running to Chinatown for your next meal, or indeed for the sichuan pepper and salt in your own kitchen.