One of my friends had been to China recently. On hearing that food stores do have some things written in English I asked him to get some Sechuan pepper. He put in tenacious effort in tracking down the real Sechuan pepper, " huajiao fen". That's what culminated in today's Chinese style dinner. Thanks, Nadeem! I may be blogging about it, but the real foodie is the one who went to multiple supermarkets and squinted at any number of condiments in his effort to bring the right spice! The Chinese five spice powder used in the Veggie dish was powdered in a mortar and pestle minutes before being added to the dish. The mixed vegetables were accompanied by another first for me, dimsums filled with chicken filling. They came out rather well, so I have included their picture though dumpling images on the internet are dime a dozen. The images were taken by my husband, Sitabhra.
The dimsum recipe was from Chinese steamed dumplings in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. I use this book a lot. The recipes work for me everytime!
Below is the Five spice powder mix composition. It works with a lot of dishes, but I like it particularly with mixed vegetables and rubbed on fish fillet.
2 star aniseIncidentally, I later on found that Sechuan pepper is used in Indian cooking quite frequently and goes under the name of "Triphal" on the Konkan coast where it is frequently paired with fish! So next time I run out of this spice I know now where to approach!
1 Tb spoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Sechuan paper
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon cloves
Dry roast the ingredients until they give out a whiff of their aromatic oils.
Grind into powder. Cool and store.