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Szechuan peppercorns (Recipe: salt and pepper prawns)


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Congratulations!! I know you are good company and now you are in "good company". A whole new world of bloggers has been opened for me. Thank You.

Oh my! I love your blog!!! I often go into my own pantry and look at an ingredient thinking, "Well, I'd love to make SOMETHING with this particular ingredient, but what?" I can't wait to go in there today, pull out my cloves and make some of your grandma's applesauce.

If I wasn't so obsessed with books (and so darned busy), I'd probably write more about food and spend more time working at my mediocre culinary skills. Anyway, I'm so excited I found your blog!!!!

Hi Lydia! Congradulations on your feature!

Nicole, welcome to The Perfect Pantry! I'm so glad you found it, and I hope you look around and discover other wonderful recipes. AND, if I hit on one of your favorite pantry items and you have a recipe to share, please do. Sharing recipes is the most fun of all.

Hi Lydia,
Great blog. You've hit upon a couple of my favorites as well...I really love the Szechuan peppercorns. I also make my own Chinese 5-spice powder and recently created a new recipe and method, posted on my own blog, Scrumptious Street. It was "Avocado Crusted Tuna". Would love a visit from you as well. I spent yesterday evening in Chinatown in NYC trying to get a specific item so can relate to your communication barrier observations. I'll visit your perfect pantry often!

Stephanie, welcome! Your tuna recipe looks fabulous; I promise to try it. The photography on your blog is gorgeous, too. Chinatown NYC is one of the great places on earth: wonderful dim sum and great markets. I remember going to Bobo's on Mott St. when I was a little girl living in NYC. It was my first experience in a "real" Chinese restaurant.

Lydia, You must be over the moon! So pleased that you are recognized for your excellent blog!
Now, about those Sczechuan peppercorns..your description of their taste intrigues me. I take it they don't taste like black peppercorns at all???
Stephanie, thanks for sharing the tuna recipe. I will try it soon also.

De-lurking. I absolutely love the Perfect Pantry! I've often felt that if I had the perfect pantry somehow I would be more whole.
Perhaps I should try psychotherapy.

Congrats on your feature! It's a wonderful site.
Kathleen (Jennifers partner in all manner of pre-k adventures)

Kathleen, welcome to The Perfect Pantry! Cooking is good cheap therapy, of course -- and it turns out that cleaning out your pantry is also therapeutic. I'm having a blast re-discovering what I have, and remembering why I have some of the items in my cupboard. Glad you're enjoying and sharing the adventure!

Kudos on your terrific blog! I'm still trying to find the one on garam masala. Your passion for the ingredients is inspiring and your sense of humor a delight! Excellent work and keep 'em coming.

Kathleen McCann
The Educated Palate

Kathleen, welcome! Under Categories, click the link for Spice rack, and scroll down to garam masala.

Marcia, szechuan peppercorns don't taste, look or smell like black peppercorns. They are more pungent and aromatic -- not spicy, per se, but a more sharp flavor. Next time you're near my spice rack, be sure to take a look (and a taste).

Lydia, great to hear you're a fellow New York soul. If you're ever searching for something and can't find it, let me know and I'll go hunting for you. I appreciate your praise of my blog, thanks...and you too Marcia. Both, please pop over and let me know what you think of the tuna after making it. Lydia, congrats again on what must have been a very exciting day indeed!

As Jennifer has said in the past, you are the bomb-diggity!!!! I love your blog, and I love cooking with you! thanks, Lucia

Of course - Lydia's blog rocks! As do szechuan peppercorns! I love to keep a jar of Roasted Szechwan Pepper Salt in the pantry too. This is from Barbara Tropp;s great book "China Moon Cookbook" -

Combine 1/4 cup of Szechwan peppercorns with 1/2 cup of salt in heavy skillet over medium heat. Keep stirring until the salt starts to darken. (5 - 7 min.?) Careful it doesn't burn. Let it cool and put it in to the food processor and buzz it up for about a minute into a fine powder. (Barbara Tropp recommends putting it through a sieve at this point - but I have never mind the little bits of hull and such.)

You can use it any time you want to spice up something along with the salting it. I love this on popcorn. (Forutnately for me, that means I get my own bowl!)

From one fellow TypePad user to another, congratulations! Your blog is gorgeous and I shall be visiting often!

this may help in the future when trying to buy szechuan peppercorns:

1. hua(1) jiao(1) is mandarin for szechuan peppercorns. the literal translation is flower pepper. some chinese grocers may recognize the term flower pepper before they recognize szechuan peppercorn

2. most chinese don't understand the english pronunciation of "szechuan" because we pronounce it incorrectly. it is not sesh-wan or any of the variations you've typed out. it's pronounce si(4) chuan(1) or "sss-chwan"... no "eh" sound in the first syllable. most chinese-only speakers don't know what you are saying if you say "sesh-wan".

Yi, welcome to The Perfect Pantry and thanks so much for helping us over the language barrier. I will save your notes to take with me on my next visit to the Asian grocery. (Pantry readers will enjoy your blog -- http://www.holyshitake.com/ -- I did!)

Ivonne, welcome! I've been lurking around on your blog (http://creampuffsinvenice.typepad.com/) for a few weeks and will continue to visit often. Thanks for visiting the Pantry.

Well deserved congrats to you Lydia! The cream always rises to the top and you've got it!

I read your blog everyday and get so much out of it. It's like a whole new cooking course via your site...and, very entertaining with your keen sense of humor.

Congrats again...keep on blogging!

Found you through Ivonne's blog, and have now bookmarked it. Will come back, it is great here.

Wow! Such fun comments and interaction. Interesting topic, fun people, food, great writing, and humor in one place. What could be better?

Terrific writing about my passion, food! I'll be following you!

Britt-Arnhild and Bethany, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. Hope you'll keep checking in as I work my way through my cupboards!

Pam, Rupert, Lucia: thanks for words of encouragement and for being Pantry fans. Love your recipes, Pam.

Jessica, I'd totally forgotten about China Moon -- a real classic cookbook. Please keep sharing your pantry creations!

Lydia, thanks for commenting on my blog. I'm glad to have found yours. It doesn't surprise me at all that Typepad featured your blog -- both the writing and your blog's look are wonderful.

I'm happy to hear that Szechuan peppercorns are available again. I tried to replenish my (apparently illegal) supply a few years ago only to learn they no longer were to be had.

As soon as I find them (or break down and order them online), I will try your delicious sounding recipe.

Julie, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. When you do reunite with a supply of Szechuan Peppercorns, let me know what you're cooking with them. Sharing recipes is what it's all about!

Just wanted to join those who discovered your blog through its being featured by typepad, and are glad it's there - I'm an inept but enthusiastic cook, but one of the most fascinating aspects for me is always the ingredients, when they're particularly good (especially as I spent parts of the past decade in cultures like Spain, Italy, Thailand, even Australia, where really good ingredients are more normal than in North America or the UK). But it's so hard to find good writing about them - so this is great.

Incidentally, among the few books that have written usefully about them are the two books by Diana Henry - you've probably already seen those....

Paul, welcome to The Perfect Pantry, and thanks for your kind words. Sounds like you have the kind of interesting life most of us only dream about.

I've read Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons...but there was an earlier book (?) that I haven't seen. I'll track it down now that you've reminded me!

SZP Shrimp is the BEST....you just reminded me that I have to get my butt over to the market and get some huge prawns on sale today.

I also wanted to tell you that your one of my favorite bloggers - because the information that you provide is so useful. I find myself coming to your site to reference an ingredient often. Thank you!

Steamy, thank you for your kind words. I'm learning so much about Asian cooking from you.

Finally, a site with as much enthusiasm for fine Chinese cooking as I have and have had for almost my entire life. I've lived in Toronto (which, at one time had wonderful Chinese restaurants until they all moved to the absolute outer reaches of the city), Chicago (which is, perhaps, one of the most arid US cities when it comes to Chinese food of any sort), and now San Francisco/Oakland which is as good as it gets outside of China proper. Thanks for a great contribution.

Dr., thank you so much. I'm glad you stopped by. I love Chinese cooking and feel lucky to have access to authentic Chinese ingredients. It's a wonderful cuisine...so much to learn.

This recipe is so simple and oh so delicious! We had company over and it was a huge hit. :)

I sort of discovered your site accidentally, but your blog post captured my attention and that i thought that I'd post to show you that I really like it.

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