I had to get my hands on Grandma Lu’s Sichuan Seasoning after a friend described the mouth watering, tingling, and lightly numbing sensation produced by sichuan peppercorns. The idea is that the sensation sets the stage for heat in a very unique and unexpected way. Obviously the grilling potential is intriguing. Then when it was casually mentioned that sichuan peppercorns were banned from import before 2005… sold.
Grandma Lu’s is a secret recipe, but the basics are listed on the back: sichuan peppercorns, imported sea salts, cayenne pepper, and other spices. The seasoning has a lemony aroma (from the peppercorns) with a hint of cayenne. I’m not particularly good at scent analysis so I’ll save some of my guesses…
In the shot below you can see some of the sea salt.
Tasting the seasoning by itself is pretty fun – I had a few folks over and everybody enjoyed the experience. The tinging sensation has been described as similar to putting a 9-volt battery to your tongue for a moment. My take: not exactly, but there’s definitely a familiarity there. There’s also a spicy kick that passes pretty quickly.
I’m really looking forward to using this spice in a few new recipes for the grill (thinking flanken short ribs!) but I went a different direction tonight based on some last-minute grocery store inspiration.
Of all things a turkey meatloaf seemed like the right thing for dinner tonight. It was turkey, egg yolks, Grandma Lu’s, a sweet onion, and kosher salt. I roasted some carrots to get a sweet dimension in the meal. The idea behind keeping it basic was to really understand how the seasoning would affect the taste as well as the right amount of seasoning to use. As I play around some more, look out for some tighter recipes.
You can buy Grandma Lu’s on Amazon – I definitely recommend giving it a try!