Recipe by Deliathecrone: Homemade 5 Spice Powder This is a very fragrant fresh spice blend. Going to baptize it tomorrow in a rice dish. Used half the recipe to fill the old spice bottle. Used a spice grinder. It's a little more fluffy than the fine ground store bought stuff.
Couldn't find any but did find some multi-colored peppercorns that didn't say Sechuan. Had one of the local stores make a special order for the peppercorns and star anise. Plus I'll try to get some on-line. Last time I made this I used black peppercorns. Grinding them at the house bumps up the freshness flavor. I found that out with nutmeg.
Found a new Mexican foodstore with star anise. My new go-to place for dried herbs and spices.
Research on Szechuan peppercorns reveal that they are not peppercorns but seed husks. They have a numbing effect on the mouth so that it eases the effect of hot peppers and allows one to enjoy the smoky and fruity flavors of hot peppers. Might have to go on-line for this last item. It was banned in the U.S. until 2005.
Spent 5gal of gas to go to the Far East Market to get some Szechuan peppers. Called first to verify. But what they tried to sell me was red pepper flakes and seeds. Not happening! Picked up a good size bag of star anise so my trip was not completely wasted.
There was some kind of plant disease that the powers that be were afraid would be transmitted. Now a requirement for the Szechuan to be baked at a certain temp for a certain time lets them be imported again. Although I believe the plant can be grown here in the U.S.
Chinese prickly ash is the source for Szechuan peppers. It can be a bush or a tree and it can be grown in the U.S. I finally found a 4oz packet for $3 at Choi's market. Also picked up a packet of turmeric for a buck, a fortunate coincidence as I was running very low. I'm sure those prices undercut American supermarket prices severely. I'm pleased. The peppers are labeled dried capiscum and are vacuum packed. There is enough in that 4oz to last me for years to come. Popped a few in my mouth to check out the taste and feel. Whiffing the bag gave me a sense of varnish. It did not translate to the palate. Did not get a lemony overtone, as some have described. There is a numbing effect on the tongue after holding the husks in my mouth for a minute. There is no heat associated with it even though it is labeled capiscum. These are going in my next batch of five spice powder.