Monday, June 16, 2008

Sichuan Peppercorn Chicken

Sichuan peppercorns is, in my opinion, one of the more under-rated ingredient. On a trip to Chengdu many years ago, I was introduced to it & fell in love with it immediately. You can find it in the popular ma la huo guo - literally to mean numbing spicy hotpot & a lot of Sichuan dishes. I remember having a chicken roasted entirely with that & I still dream about that dish sometimes.

I don't find the sichuan peppercorn to be particularly spicy but when you bite into one, there is a numbing & tingling feeling. I use it in my spicy sichuan noodles but not much else. So when Jaden @ Steam Kitchen did a post on Asian Flavored Sea Salt featuring the sichuan peppercorn with even a recipe for roasted chicken, I jumped on it immediately.

Sichuan Peppercorn Salt & Chicken

Source Steamy Kitchen

To make the peppercorn salt, dry roast the peppercorns for about 5 mins (making sure not to burn them) then grind & mix with same amount of salt.

1 chicken
2-3 stalks of scallions
1/2 lemon or orange
4 long, thin slices of ginger
2 tablespoons Sichuan Peppercorn Salt + more to serve as dipping salt
2 tablespoons oil

Preheat oven at 210C.

1. Rub chicken with peppercorn salt (be generous). Stuff with ginger, scallions and lemon or whatever you normally use to stuff the chicken when roasting. Place bird breast-side down in roasting pan. Brush 1 tablespoon oil all over the top of the bird (which is the thigh side).

2. Roast chicken breast-side down for 30 minutes. Turn breast side up. Brush breast side with oil. Continue roasting till chicken is nicely browned - about 1 hour.

3. Remove from oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Carve and serve with more Sichuan Peppercorn Salt on side for dipping.

I didn't find the chicken flavorful enough even tho I rubbed it with a lot of peppercorn salt. But it was great with the dipping salt on the side to make up for it. Maybe I'll try to marinate it longer the next time. I also wonder if the ground peppercorns have lost some of its flavor cos I made it a while back. Definitely going to try this again.


SteamyKitchen said...

the dipping salt is the key! but old sichuan peppercorn will have no flavor at all.

petite fleur said...

I love the dipping salt & will try this again with freshly grounded sichuan peppercorn the next time. Thanks again for the recipe.