Sichuan peppercorn oil – also known as prickly oil – is a versatile way to add authentic and intense tongue-tingling ‘buzz’ to your Sichuan dishes.
The rapeseed/ canola oil is infused with Sichuan pepper, a fruit of the prickly ash. It has a citrussy aroma and flavour, with hints of pine on the palate. Instead of a chilli heat, the Sichuan pepper has more of a cold, numbing effect with a tingling sensation. It is often paired with plenty of red chilli for a full-on sensory experience!
This combination of numbing qualities with chilli’s fiery heat is known in Sichuan cuisine as málà, and is arguably the cuisine’s defining characteristic.
Prickly oil is popularly used to make dressings and dipping sauces for noodles or seafood dishes. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli oil and finely chopped spring onion together. Then slowly add a few drops of prickly oil. A little goes a long way, so stir and taste after each addition to make sure it doesn’t overpower the other flavours. Toss noodles and green vegetables in this dressing before serving, or pop in a dipping bowl and have with prawns.
The Sichuan peppercorn oil is also great for experimenting with. Try drizzling sparingly over chicken or seafood dishes, or even shake a tiny amount in cocktails for a tingling mouthfeel! Good flavours to pair with it are citrus – particularly yuzu and orange – and ginger.
Ingredients: rapeseed oil (88%), Sichuan peppercorn (12%).
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