These are the beauts responsible for the spicy "mala" (ma - numbing, la - spicy) flavor in the noodle soup I posted about a couple weeks ago. We call it "fa ziu" in Cantonese, meaning "flower pepper". It really has a great fruity spiciness that leaves a short-lasting tingle on your tongue. These seed husks can be ground and added to the famous five-spice powder popular in Chinese cooking, or can flavor an oil that can easily be found in Asian supermarkets as well. A bag of these peppercorn husks is pretty cheap and can be found among the many other bags of dried stuff at your local Asian supermarket.
I'm Wendy Kiang-Spray, gardener, home cook, and author of The Chinese Kitchen Garden. Learn more about the book here. Enjoy the blog and be sure to like The Chinese Kitchen Garden Facebook page for notifications when there are new posts.