General Discussion 24

Chinese salt and pepper dishes: sichuan peppercorns??

spaghetina | Mar 26, 201211:07 AM

I had a craving the other day, which led me to look up recipes for Chinese fried salt and pepper tofu. A lot of the ones I came across simply asked for black pepper, but that wasn't what I was looking for. Apparently, the "pepper" referred to in the name of the dish is Sichuan peppercorn. More reading turned up the fact that these were banned for decades, but that got me to thinking...

If they were banned for so long, what was I eating in all of those salt and pepper prawn/sparerib/tofu/squid/fish dishes I lovingly gobbled up in all the years it was banned? It definitely wasn't black pepper. Have all the restaurants that have been serving salt and pepper __fill in the blank__ been using Sichuan peppercorns all along despite the ban? My tongue is craving the flavor, but before I break into my peppercorn stash, I want to be sure it's going to be the flavor I'm expecting it to be.

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