Szechuan Peppercorn Oil

Woke with oil and shrimp

annick vanderschelden photography / Getty Images

Prep: 1 mins
Cook: 2 mins
Total: 3 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
247 Calories
27g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 247
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 0g
Calcium 15mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This flavorful oil is a great addition to stir-fries, sauces, stews, and any other dish that you think could benefit from some zing. which stems from Szechuan peppercorns. The spice level is not too overpowering, although that depends on how much you use. If you're new to infused spicy oil, start small, with a few drops of oil on top of grilled meats and vegetables, and go from there until you've learned how much heat you can take. This quick recipe makes half a cup of oil that you can place in an airtight container and store in a cool dark pantry to use when needed. For our recipe, we recommend using peanut or canola oil, as they have high smoke points and won't change their neutral flavor when heated. Despite common belief, peanut oil, unless from roasted peanuts, doesn't smell or taste like peanuts.

Szechuan peppers come from ash shrubs found in Asia. They have mouth-numbing properties and are greatly appreciated in Szechuan cuisine for their fiery citrus flavor. Closer to a citrus fruit than a black peppercorn, these kernels can be used whole or ground. What's found in supermarkets and spice stores is the dried fruit of these shrubs. The whole peppercorn is more powerful than the ground version because the heating process used to make them grindable also makes them lose some of their famous numbing powers. Part of the traditional five-spice powder, Szechuan pepper is widely used in Asian cuisine, providing a delicious punch to all sorts of foods.

Szechuan peppers are known to enhance flavors, and our easy-to-make oil can help you make more well-rounded and succulent dishes. Use on roasted meats like turkey, lamb, or beef. Add to beef stews or tomato-based sauces. Use in salad dressings, dips, spreads, or dishes that are particularly rich to counterbalance their fatty profile—think pork belly, fatty fish, or grilled pork. Use a few drops on steamed fish or drizzle on pizzas, focaccias, scrambled eggs, or breakfast casseroles. When buying Szechuan peppercorn, always favor the whole form and grind as needed, as in our recipe, so you can preserve the flavor and aroma of the whole peppercorn for longer.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns
  • 8 tablespoons peanut oil, or canola

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low and add the Szechuan peppercorns.

  3. Brown the peppercorns, shaking the pan occasionally until they are aromatic. Remove from the heat and cool the pepper completely.

  4. Crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin, as you would to make a salt and pepper mix.

  5. In a separate saucepan, heat the oil over high heat.

  6. Return the crushed peppercorns to the frying pan and pour the oil over top. Remove from the heat and cool the mixture.

  7. Strain the flavored oil and store in a sealed container at room temperature.