Ground Toasted Sichuan Peppercorns

Carolyn Phillips

"All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China"

"Toasting heightens and softens the flavor of Sichuan peppercorns, elevating the aromas of this spice while mellowing its bitterness. I always have a jar of this ground spice next to the stove. If you don’t use it that often, toast only a small amount of peppercorns so that the volatile oils don’t dissipate."—Carolyn Phillips


  • 1/4 cup whole Sichuan peppercorns


Pour the peppercorns into a dry wok and stir them over medium heat until the seeds start to pop and send out fine tendrils of fragrant smoke. Remove the wok from the heat and pour the peppercorns into a small work bowl to cool off.

When the peppercorns are at room temperature, grind them finely with a spice grinder or mini-blender. You want them as fine as possible, since the seeds are very hard and can be unpleasant to crunch down on. I like to shake the powder through a fine sieve just to be sure that no surprises await my molars.

Pour the ground peppercorns into a jar and keep them in a cool, dark place. Making this ground toasted spice in small amounts guarantees its perfume stays lively and seductive, but of course make more if you love it as much as I do. 

Reprinted with permission from All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China by Carolyn Phillips, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


A few tablespoons