Baked Pork Chop with Ginger, Garlic and Sichuan Peppercorns

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Baked Pork Chop with Ginger, Garlic and Sichuan Peppercorns

Sichuan peppercorns lend a unique flavor to this simple baked pork chop recipe. The combination of heat from the pepper, sweet and sour from the sauce, and mouth-tingling sour from the citrus will surely be pleasing to all your taste buds!


2 tsp sichuan peppercorns

1/3 cup soy sauce**

1/3 cup water*

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp canola oil

4 pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick**

1/4 cup brown sugar**

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 slices ginger, minced finely*

2 scallions, chopped (green part only)

I love Sichuan peppercorns; they’re not expensive, and they’re so much more flavourful than regular “black” pepper. I make this dish with pork chops at least once a week. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s delicious.

1 tbsp peanut oil

1 lb thick cut pork chops

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and brown the chops on both sides first for about 2 minutes each side. Then transfer to a large baking dish (or two smaller dishes). Sprinkle the chops on both sides with the minced ginger and garlic then sprinkle generously with the Sichuan peppercorns. Bake for 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Serve with white rice. Enjoy!

This is a recipe that I have been working on for a while. I have finally arrived at something that I like very much and will be making it again.

The original recipe came from Cook’s Illustrated, which I liked quite a bit because the pork chop was very moist. But the sauce did not have very much garlic flavor. Also, the original sauce used regular black pepper which seemed redundant with the Sichuan peppercorns in the recipe. So, I made some changes.

Tasting Notes:

Sauce: The sauce has good garlic flavor. The ginger works well with the garlic flavor to give the dish some zing without being too hot (I do not like really hot food). The Sichuan peppercorns add a nice mild numbing feeling that does not overwhelm everything else.

The Pork Chop: The pork chop is moist, but not watery or mushy. It is nicely spiced and has good texture from the sear on both sides and from the broiling in step 5.

The sichuan peppercorns are a great ingredient to experiment with. They give an earthy, pepper-like taste and smell to whatever you use them in. If you can’t find sichuan peppercorns, substitute regular black pepper, green pepper or red pepper and add a few grains of crushed Sichuan peppercorns to your dish.

Sichuan peppercorns are a notorious ingredient. If you eat them by themselves, they are spicy and numbing. The taste is so intense that, like eating pure cinnamon or cloves, it feels like it’s burning your tongue.

Sichuan cuisine uses sichuan pepper as much as possible, including whole peppercorns in many dishes. Sichuan pepper is used in many ways: whole seeds, ground pepper, ground and soaked in oil and then fried, dried flakes or powder, or infused into vinegar or wine. The flavor adds a spicy-hot element to the food and also adds a lot of numbing quality to the food that is known as “ma” in Chinese and “mala” in Japanese.

There are two main types of sichuan pepper: one type is more vinegary than the other. In addition there are also two main varieties of actual chili peppers used in sichuan cuisine: one variety has a thin wall and is more spicy while the other variety has a thick wall and is more pungent.

The dried, unripe fruit of Zanthoxylum ailanthoides and related species are commonly called Sichuan or Chinese prickly ash and feature prominently in Sichuan cuisine. The name comes from a mistranslation of the Chinese name for the tree, 川椒 (pinyin: Chuan jiao), literally “Sichuan pepper”.

The dried fruit is also called fagara (from Japanese hōga) or sanshō.

The berries are usually sold as whole berries, with the spines removed (de-spined). They have an intensely spicy aroma and a citrusy flavor that has been described variously as citrusy, lemony, or reminiscent of tangerine peel. The dried fruit is also used as a spice.

In its fresh green state the plant resembles a thorny rose. It can grow to 5 meters tall.

Sichuan peppercorns are highly aromatic, with a slightly citrus taste; they are used to a limited extent in cooking in its fresh form. When dried and crushed they are commonly used as part of a chili pepper mill to add flavor to dishes. As well as being added to food before serving, they may be added at the table as a cond

In a small bowl, combine the stock or water, shaoxing wine and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a separate small bowl, blend together the cornstarch and a small amount of the cold water to make a slurry. Set aside.

In a wok or large skillet, heat the peanut oil over high heat until very hot. Add the pork chops and stir-fry for about 1 minute, until just barely cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside with stock mixture.

Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup water and cook briskly over high heat until reduced by half. Stir in the reserved rice wine mixture, ginger and garlic and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Add the pork chops back into the wok in an even layer. Add in the green onions, chinese cabbage and mushrooms; stir-fry 3 minutes more. Lower heat to medium-high and add in slurry slowly while stirring constantly; add salt if desired (this can vary depending on whether you used soy sauce). Cook 2 minutes more or until sauce thickens slightly. Serve immediately with steamed white rice if desired.*

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