Szechwan Peppercorn Oil

Redolent of the herbal qualities of Szechwan pepper, this is an intriguingly flavored spicy oil. The oil may cloud on account of the ginger, but that will not impair its taste.


  • 6 tablespoons Szechwan peppercorns
  • 2 cups corn or peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons shockingly pungent dried red chili flakes
  • tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green and white scallion rings


  1. Heat a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact. Add the Szechwan peppercorns and stir until toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust the heat so the peppercorns brown without scorching.
  2. Combine the peppercorns and all of the remaining ingredients in a heavy, non-aluminum 1- to 1½-quart saucepan. Heat over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until a deep-fry thermometer registers a bubbly 225°F. Let simmer for 15 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat. Let stand until cool or overnight.
  3. Strain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Store the oil in an impeccably clean glass jar at cool room temperature.