Guest Recipe: Sichuan Peppercorn Peanuts

As Michael Natkin of Herbivoracious explains, Sichuan peppercorns aren't spicy in the traditional sense. They do jump on your tongue in a somewhat startling way, though -- it's definitely something worth checking out, and this snack is the perfect vehicle for them.

You'll want a scale for the most accurate measurements, but of course you can add the accoutrements in any proportions you wish. Enjoy -- and have a drink on hand to help soothe the spice!

Sichuan Peppercorn Peanuts
Yields 220 grams /a small bowl; multiply as needed
3.5 grams Sichuan peppercorns
2 grams coriander seed
1 1/2 grams ancho chili powder (or chili powder of your choice)
1 dried guajillo pepper
9 grams orange zest
35 grams neutral vegetable oil
200 grams unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
1 to 2 grams fleur de sel, or, better, Himalayan sulfur salt, ground to a powder (more to taste)

Finely grind the Sichuan peppercorns and coriander seed and combine with the ancho powder. Remove the seeds and stem from the guajillo chili and cut it lengthwise into 2 strips, and then slice those crosswise into the thinnest threads you can manage. Add to the spices.

Cut strips of orange zest, being careful to avoid the pith, then use your knife to cut into threads similar to the chili threads. Add to the spices.

Line a paper plate with towels. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spice mixture and cook until fragrant, but don't allow to burn. Add the peanuts and cook, tossing frequently, for 2 more minutes. Remove to the paper towels, including all of the spices. Allow to drain for a few minutes, then transfer to a bowl, toss with the salt, adjust seasoning, and serve (or they will keep for a few days).

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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Missing key ingredient of sugar, and why not use dried Sichuan chilis?