Sichuan Pepper Plants (Red)
SPIC-SICR-1-5Regular price $44.00
Red Sichuan Pepper Plants are one of the secret ingredients in Chinese Five Spice - and you can be sure the fruit will pack lots more punch than the stale spice powder you can buy in the shops! Zingy and delicious, fresh Red Sichuan Peppercorns are a must-have for Sichuan cuisine aficionados.
Urban Bounty's Red Sichuan Pepper plants are one year old and 30 - 40 cm tall. They come in a 2.5 litre pot.
What is Red Sichuan Pepper (Szechuan Pepper, Quing Hua Jiao, Prickly Ash)
Red Sichuan Pepper plants are a deciduous thorny bush related to citrus. (Contrary to popular belief, they are unrelated to Black Peppercorns.) In Vietnamese culture, they are called 'hoa tieu', which means 'flower pepper'.
The reddish-pink berries/seeds of Red Sichuan bushes are often used in Sichuan cuisine, giving off a unique aroma with woody, citrus notes. The clusters of berries begin to appear after flowering in spring, ready for harvest in summer.
Without intervention, Sichuan pepper plants grow to about 1.5 metres high. If you have a small garden, you can grow them in a large pot, and prune heavily after fruiting. Fertilise in spring.
Culinary Uses for Red Sichuan Pepper (Szechuan Pepper, Hua Jiao, Hoa tieu)
Red Sichuan berries have an earthy, slightly floral and zingy flavour that distinguishes them from Green Sichuan peppercorns. Get ready for a sensory sensation, because they also produce a tingly, numbing sensation in your mouth - something that is integral for the "Ma La" (numbing and spicy) effect so often associated with Sichuan cuisine. The numbing quality of the berries is said to take the edge of the hot spice, allowing one to enjoy the complex layering of flavours in a dish.
Sichuan pepper berries can be used whole, or the husks can be toasted and ground into a fragrant spice powder (sifting required). Use the spice powder to season roasted meats and stir fries. (A little goes a long way!)
Sichuan Pepper spice powder loses its punch over time, so freeze surplus peppercorns and grind them as needed.
Growing Conditions - Sichuan Pepper (Szechuan Pepper)
Sichuan Pepper bushes like nothing better than rich, well drained soil and a sun - part shady spot. We recommend that you plant two together, as they tend to fruit better with some cross-pollination. (Don't expect them to produce fruit until they are at least three years old. ) Avoid planting near citrus trees.
While young, these plants like protection from the wind and frost. Once established, they are a generally hardy plant and will survive a light winter frost. Water moderately during dry periods, keeping the soil moist, but not soggy. Trim them to enhance the shape, manage size and remove dead or damaged growth. If you are looking forward to a harvest next season, be careful not to prune new growth - this is where new peppers develop. Red Sichuan Pepper have lighter green leaves than the Green Sichuan variety and tend to lose their leaves in winter, providing a lovely autumn display!