Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stephen's Szechuan Peanuts

My son Stephen is turning into a wonderful cook and I think he spices things even better than me when the dish is spicy because I am a bit timid when food gets hot. For our family's Chinese New Year dinner, I wanted to serve some spicy Szechuan peanuts as an appetizer and he came up with these. They are modeled after the peanuts from Sue's Kitchen, a little take out place in Torrance that my Mom likes. Since we can't get them in Seattle, we decided that we should make them instead. So, we bought some raw Virginia peanuts at Uwajimaya and cooked them with a little oil, some Szechuan Peppercorns, red chilis and chili flakes, salt and sugar. The only caution I want to give is that those Szechuan Peppercorns can numb your lips and tongue as only they can and its an acquired taste. And, these peanuts are hot. But if you like Szechuan food like we do, you will love these peanuts!

Stephen's Szechuan Peanuts

1 16 oz package raw Virginia Peanuts

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
7 - 8 whole Szechuan Peppercorns
4 - 5 whole dried red chilis
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Crush Szechuan Peppercorns and red chili flakes with the salt and sugar in a mortar and pestle and put aside. Heat oil in the frying pan and add the whole red chilis and peanuts.  Cook until the peanuts are just beginning to brown.  Add the salt, pepper and sugar mixture to the peanuts and toss to coat. Cook until you can smell the chilis heat up (it will make your nose tickle.)  Remove from the pan and place on a plate to cool.  When ready to serve, place in a bowl and toss again.

Five Element Analysis

Peanuts provide some good protein.  They are considered an Earth food as they are grown under ground and are therefore good for the spleen and they improve the appetite, so they make a great appetizer! Therefore, this is primarily an Earthy dish and the sugar adds even more earth, but the red chilis bring in the Fire Element and the Szechuan Peppercorns provide some pungent Metal energy. There's only a little salt, so the Water Element needs to be supported by some other foods or beverages, which you will surely need and be sure to also serve them alongside a Wood food to create balance.


  1. I've been looking for a recipe as close to the one they use in Sue's Kitchen as I can get. I used to live in Torrance and loved that little place but I've since moved away. Would you say this recipe turns out tasting about the same as the one they make?

  2. My son and I love Sue's Kitchen and this is as close to their recipe as we could make it. Great that you recognized it!

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