Sichuan dipping sauce

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Here’s the dipping sauce I used for my steamed Sichuan (or Szechuan) dumplings.

This was my first time using Sichuan peppercorns. I have been intrigued with Sichuan peppercorns ever since I watched a cooking show on TV called Exploring China: A Culinary Journey. Two chefs explored the Sichuan province in China. They showed the Sichuan flower, explaining its powerful and amazing qualities and that’s when I knew I had to try some.

I couldn’t find any Sichuan flowers anywhere but found Sichuan peppercorns in an Asian grocer. What was I going to use them for? Some sort of Sichuan stir-fry? I had no idea what to use them for. Then I came across this recipe – Sichuan wontons – that would be a perfect dumpling for my 101 Dumplings!  Now I’m excited!! I get to use my Sichuan peppercorns!

The thing that makes these Sichuan peppercorns so intriguing is their hot numbing effect. The numbing is not felt straight away, but within two minutes, your tongue and throat go numb!  It’s a fascinating feeling that’s for sure! You feel quite invigorated after eating them!

After doing some research about the Sichuan pepper today, I noticed that you could roast your peppercorns prior to using or grind them in your mortar & pestle for a sprinkle of Sichuan pepper.  Either of these ways helps to release the intensity.  I decided to go the whole peppercorn to get as much of a numbing experience as possible. And that’s exactly what we got!  If I didn’t run out of time I would leave the peppercorns to marinate in the soy sauce overnight and only use one (1) tablespoon of crushed Sichuan peppercorns.

This Sichuan dipping sauce is not something that you would have all the time with every single dumpling – although my husband would have it on toast if he could!  It’s something that you should experience at least once and enjoy the moment.  With the leftovers, I intend to make a paste for curries – will keep you posted.

I hope you all enjoy my adaptation of a Sichuan dipping sauce – it will knock your socks off!!

INGREDIENTS:
½ cup light soy sauce
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns, whole
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed

METHOD:
Place all ingredients in a jar and shake until sugar has dissolved.

Stand for one hour before serving.

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