I have to warn you about something. It’s Szechuan peppercorns. Maybe you’re well versed in these little buggers, but maybe you aren’t, and it saves me from worrying about you if you don’t already know that they numb your mouth. Did you know this? Is this common knowledge and I just assume it isn’t, like how I assume everyone just realized that caribou and reindeer are the same thing and I only imagined this to be more privileged knowledge? This is my long-winded way to tell you that Szechuan peppercorn gives you a little tingly numbness when you eat them, as revenge for being eaten. That last part I made up, but I think it’s accurate.
They aren’t hot, per se, but they do abuse your mouth the way capsaicin and hoppy beers do. And if you’re a person who likes food that fights back (I’m looking at you, triple IPA drinkers), I think you’ll like this as well.
Are you afraid of this? It’s ok, I will only judge you a little for being scared of mouth-numbing foods. You can substitute it with 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, but you’ll be missing out on all the fun.
Szechuan Beer Shrimp
- 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns*
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon salt plus ½ teaspoon divided
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch, divided
- 2 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil divided
- 4 green onions
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 6 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger grated with a Microplane
- 6 long dried red chilies chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup beer pale lager, pilsner, wheat beer
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Sriracha to taste this will depend on how spicy your red chilies are
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- Add the peppercorns to a dry pan, toss over high heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Using a mortar and pestle, crush to powder (you can also add to a Ziploc bag and crush with a heavy pan or rolling pin), add to a mixing bowl.
- Place the shrimp on a stack of paper towels to dry well.
- Add to a bowl with 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons cornstarch, toss until well coated.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil to a pan until hot, add the shrimp, toss until the shrimp is curled, pink, and cooked through, remove from pan, add to a large bowl.
- Chop the green onions, separating the green from the white and light green sections.
- Heat the remaining oil to the pan, add the chopped white and very light green parts of the green onions (reserve the dark green for later), and the chopped red pepper, sauté until starting to soften.
- In the peppercorn bowl, add the garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, chopped garlic, grated ginger, dried chilies, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, beer, and honey, stir to combine.
- Add the mixture to the pan over the bell peppers, simmer until thickened.
- Pour the mixture over the shrimp, toss to coat. Add sriracha to taste.
- Add to a serving bowl, sprinkle with chopped green onions, peanuts. Serve warm.