for the sauce:
2 teaspoon palm sugar
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons black vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon black sesame oil
1 teaspoon shaoxing
1 lb Chinese Broccoli, cut into manageable pieces
1 lb peeled medium sized shrimp
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 inch knob ginger, grated
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons canola oil
10 dried Chinese red chilies, cut in half and seeds discarded
5 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced thinly
hot white rice
Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet. When the oil is hot add the chiles and peppercorns and stir-fry for a few seconds until they are fragrant, breaking the peppercorns a bit with the back of a spoon. Next, add the shallot, rehydrated mushrooms, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for an additional minute. Add the shrimp and vegetables and stir-fry for a few minutes. When the shrimp is almost fully cooked, pour in the sauce and stir-fry, taking care that the sauce is evenly distributed, until the shrimp is fully cooked and pink.
Sichuan (AKA Szechwan, Szechuan) peppercorns, are the last culinary coup around these parts. Finally located* after many, many months of searching local shops, I finally got to experiment with them. While they may be called “peppercorns”, it is a bit of a misnomer as they are actually the outer pod (the seeds are removed) of a fruit and aren’t related to chiles or pepper. They are used in many spicy dishes but they are not what is generally thought of as hot and don’t have a pungent aroma like chiles. They do have sort of citrus flavor. So if they are not hot, then why are they used so frequently in spicy dishes? They have a chemical that causes an interesting tingle and numbness in the mouth that really sets off any sort of spiciness. It’s not a “fresh from the dentist” numbness but sort of a subtle almost cooling, tingle in your mouth and throat. Adding the dried red chiles to the dish creates a meal that is pleasantly spicy but not burn-your-mouth hot.
*At Towson Oriental Market, for you locals. Ask at the counter for help because they look a lot like another spice, are not labled in English and the design of the packaging makes it difficult to make out their distinctive shape.
Sold on title alone. I love your picture with the asian bowl!
Where is Towson Oriental Market? I work in Towson, but I haven’t come across it, and I’ve been looking for these sorts of ingredients with no luck.
It’s like a block from the Bel-Loc. 8424 Willow Oak Rd MD 21234. Sort of outer Towson/Parkville.
mmm, I just had some great numbing hot chicken the other day. One question though: what is black vinegar? Is there some other name that it might go by? I am pretty familiar with the ol’ Asian market but I don’t think I have ever heard of black vinegar.
I have never seen black vinegar labled as anything but black vinegar. It is pretty standard at all the Asian groceries I go to. It’s just a dark vinegar.
Oh I see that Sichuan peppercorns…
Love it, and miss Chinese food so much!
Hey Rachel, I just made this tonight but with tofu instead of shrimp. I made an extra batch of the sauce, minus the cornstarch, and marinated the tofu in it while I cut up the other stuff. I found black vinegar at my local Chinese grocery labeled only as “Great Wall Vinegar”. A tip for anyone else looking for Szechuan peppercorns: mine were labeled “Chinese prickly ash”, which is the same thing. Anyhow, it’s great! Thanks for the recipe!
That sounds great Jenn! I am glad you found the black vinegar, I saw it at Wegmans yesterday and thought of you.