£3.40 – £8.50
These dried chillis come from China’s Sichuan province, where they are a staple in every kitchen. Their name comes from the fact that, unlike all other chilli peppers, they grow pointing upwards, ‘facing heaven’. In addition to that fact, they also have a truly heavenly flavour!
Deep rust red in colour, they are short and bullet-shaped, and are quite hot. It is possible to add them whole to dishes at any stage, but if this is done the raw chilli tends to be too hot to eat. So the best way is first to fry them in oil (tempering), then to proceed with the dish. This tempering process does two things; first, it will turn the oil a gorgeous red colour, infused with the flavour of the chilli. Second, the chilli itself will change in taste, to a beautifully fruity, slightly smoky flavour which is one of the hallmarks of Sichuan cooking – especially in combination with Sichuan pepper.
They bring a delicious difference to foods other than Sichuan, however, particularly in curries where their citrus and fruit notes come to the fore. And they are also amazing when used (having been tempered first) in a sweet chilli sauce.
One of our favourite chillis, which will always leave you with heavenly memories of a meal!
Heat level – 8