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huājiāo - sichuan peppercorns make stuff taste funny

CookingForReal | Jan 16, 201408:53 PM

So today I made some stir fry with sichuan peppercorns which I LOVE but until fairly recently hadn't been able to buy for probably decades due to the ban by the FDA (and not living anywhere near any place where there were enough Sichuanese to be sneaking the stuff in anyway).

Tasted fine to me but my son complained that it had a funny aftertaste. Part of the problem is probably due to what it does to the taste of milk - it makes it taste like it's sour or about to go off. Which I had never realized before because I have always had black tea or water with anything made with sichuan pepper up to now. So, don't drink it with milk would seem to be the easy solution - but he says there's still some bitter/sour lingering aftertaste even ignoring that.

I suspect the rest of the problem may be that I was improvising.

My stir fry sauce was chicken stock, dark Thai soy (the kind that's a bit sweet, not the really really sweet but sort of sweetish), a bit of rice vinegar, and 1 T of roasted freshly ground sichuan pepper. I didn't add any sugar because I was using the sort of sweet dark Thai soy.

I'm good with this but I'm wondering if the way the sichuan pepper works if maybe that bit of sugar I left out really is needed to balance out the vinegar - the numbing effect of the sichuan pepper seems to leave the taste buds that sense sour and/or bitter more sensitive than usual. I know they're not the same taste buds but both seem to be enhanced by the numbing.

I love love love my sichuan pepper - but what should I do when making a stir fry to maybe buffer the effect for my oh-so-sensitive offspring?

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