Sichuan peppercorn oil can easily add that distinctive numbing flavor to Sichuan dishes.
It’s particularly convenient if you don’t have time to infuse oil with whole Sichuan peppercorns, or if you simply don’t like having whole or crushed peppercorns in your dish.
Not sure what this oil is, or even what Sichuan peppercorns are? Read on to find out everything you need to know in this quick article.
What Is Sichuan Peppercorn Oil?
Sichuan peppercorn oil is a neutral oil infused with Sichuan peppercorns, a fragrant spice with a slightly floral, lemony taste and a numbing affect on the mouth! Along with chilies, Sichuan peppercorns create the distinctive mala (麻辣), or “numbing spicy” flavor of Sichuan cuisine.
The oil comes in green and red varieties, meaning it was either made with green Sichuan peppercorns, or red Sichuan peppercorns. To find out more about the difference between the two, check out our Sichuan peppercorn glossary entry. Suffice it to say that the green version is more potent than the red version. Generally, we buy the red variety.
As you can see in the photo below, the oil itself resembles olive oil.
Using Sichuan Peppercorn Oil
Sichuan peppercorn oil can add the properties of Sichuan peppercorns to a dish without having to use the dried Sichuan peppercorns themselves.
This can make preparing Sichuan dishes a little more convenient. Furthermore, if you don’t like having to pick Sichuan peppercorns out of food or biting down on them accidentally, it can make dishes easier to eat.
Add to dressings, dipping sauces, etc. for a quick infusion of flavor. Drizzle it on dishes at the very end for a more pronounced Sichuan peppercorn fragrance.
Buying & Storing
This oil can be found in well-stocked Chinese grocery stores and online. Store in a cool, dry place, such as your pantry.
If you have further questions about Sichuan peppercorn oil, let us know in the comments. We try to answer every single one.