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Sourcing Sechuan Peppercorns In Thailand


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I need them to cook one of my regular dishes (a cold spicy noodle salad with chicken, cukes, scallions, and spicy peanut butter sauce). I had brought some from the US imported from China (where they used to be illegal!) but have run out. At Tops I found a product that appears to be made in Thailand (no English label) and appears to be the right product. However, it smells and tastes different, not really good or right for my dish. However, I know it is the same product because the tongue sizzles like soda water when drinking plain water after eating them, but as the taste is wrong, these are no good for me.

So, the question is, is there a large specialty grocery store for Chinese cooking in Bangkok (I live in Pattaya but I know there isn't one here)? Everyday stores have lots of Chinese cooking products but they don't have everything. So I am looking for a more complete store. Does this exist?

Fun factoid. Sechuan peppercorns are not actually peppers! In fact they are not really "hot" like peppers, they are more of a sizzle/flavor thing, you need to add other real hot peppers to balance the dish to really make it hot.

Edited by Jingthing
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If you come to Bangkok you should make a trip to Yaowarat - personally I would specifically suggest Yaowarat Soi 6, but have a wander around.

I am pretty sure you can find almost any Chinese ingredient there, from any Region, if you look hard enough.

Patrick

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  • 1 month later...

You can get the real thing from Spice Story in Paragon. I have a packet from there which I use in Ma Po Tofu, and it tastes right to me. The spices there are considerably pricier than in Chinatown, though. There's a shop halfway up Trok Itsaranuphap, on the left coming from Th. Yaowaraj, which stocks Szechuan pepper.

There is a very similar spice available in Bangkok (at Khlong Dtoei, for example) called Makwaen (มะแคว่น), which is used a lot in the North of Thailand - to me it looks much the same. Look for prik hawm (พริกหอม) instead. I think I've bought it from Villa Market in the past, or maybe the food hall in Isetan. Spice Story's was the freshest.

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  • 1 month later...

I live in Pattaya and found some as I needed them for a chinese dish I was cooking, if you go to the spice section at Foodland and look for the packets of Five Spice with the whole spices inside and normally a small cotton bag that you are supposed to place them in and boil, you will find that these packs contain the sechuan peppercorns along with other spices, you dont get a lot but the packs arent very expensive, I think they also stock them in Friendship as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,

Two things, sir:

-Have you checked the basement supermarket at Central Mall? Spices section looked pretty good to me (couldn't find fenugreek, though).

-What about posting that recipe for spicy noodle salad? Thanks & good luck-

-Michael

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  • 5 months later...

Foodland Pattaya now has Sichuan peppercorns with an English label. The product is made in Thailand. It looks the same as that other non-English labeled product made in Thailand product that did NOT taste close enough to Chinese Sichuan peppercorns by my taste. I haven't tried this new product yet; will let you know if it is acceptable. The brand is Natural Green.

Spicy Chinese Chicken salad recipe? Here it is!

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/index.php?s=...t&p=2227290

Edited by Jingthing
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I don't get to Makro. The recipe is actually an adaptation of the famous Hunan Chinese Chicken Salad recipe from the famous Henry's Hunan in San Francisco (cook book). I cooked the Hunan style for years before I was introduced to sechuan peppercorns. Until relatively recently sechuan peppers were ILLEGAL in the US. Amazing, huh? Anyway, Hunan and Sechuan are related styles, and Sechuan also do a spicy noodle salad with spicy peanut butter sauce, but in my experience they use wheat noodles, not rice noodles, and of course the sechuan peppercorns. So there is more to the recipe than my own invention, it really is a good one, but like I said you really have to play with it a few times to get the taste (of the sauce) right for your palate.

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Edited by Jingthing
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  • 2 weeks later...
I don't get to Makro. The recipe is actually an adaptation of the famous Hunan Chinese Chicken Salad recipe from the famous Henry's Hunan in San Francisco (cook book). I cooked the Hunan style for years before I was introduced to sechuan peppercorns. Until relatively recently sechuan peppers were ILLEGAL in the US. Amazing, huh? Anyway, Hunan and Sechuan are related styles, and Sechuan also do a spicy noodle salad with spicy peanut butter sauce, but in my experience they use wheat noodles, not rice noodles, and of course the sechuan peppercorns. So there is more to the recipe than my own invention, it really is a good one, but like I said you really have to play with it a few times to get the taste (of the sauce) right for your palate.

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Suggest that you go to Yaowarat like an earlier poster pointed out (don't know the soi).

There is a main market hidden away with many spice stores. Just about anything you want to make Chinese food is in that market, including what you are looking for.

Find the shop where all of the spices are in large bins.........you will save money there. They also have the special Chinese-style vinegars and sherry you need to make many Chinese dishes.....also great black bean paste.

If you don't speak Chinese, it is always best to have somebody write down what you want in both Thai and Chinese and show it to shop owners.

The market I am talking about is a fun place to roam around if you have never been there.

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  • 1 month later...

OK, here is the trick to get the full flavor out of the peppers.

"Roast" them, I think just heating for a while in a dry frying pan will do.

Then grind them or smash with a mortal and pestle. I was missing the second step.

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  • 1 month later...

If I'm not mistaken, Sechuan peppercorns are one of the ingredients in Chinese five spice powder. You can find it at Soi Yaowarat 8. They make a lot of chinese five spice powder in that Soi and the turnover is pretty high so you are not going to run into any old stock there.

Best regards,

Roy

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