Szechuan Pepper is also known as Tirpal

I've been watching Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals on YouTube and I've tried cooking some of the meals while watching my cooking time just to see if it would work for me (you know I'm a working mom so I don't have forever to slave myself in the hob so I need easy and fast but delicious and healthy to cook meals).

It wasn't really 30 minutes cooking time if you are not prepared like when some of the ingredients are not available in you kitchen. In one of the meals, there was this seafood dish that requires five spice powder. What is five spice powder you may ask me. According to wikipedia five spice powder is mixture of grounded five spices namely szechuan pepper, cloves, star anise, fennel seeds and cinnamon. Of all the five spices, szechuan pepper was the hardest to find in supermarkets in Dubai if you don't know the other term for it. I could not find five spice powder in a single bottle too, it's just not available or I did not look hard enough. The search continued for this pepper thats not even botanically related to black pepper or chili peppers. This spice is widely used in Chinese cuisine but there is hardly a chinese spice store near my place. If it's not availble in supermarkets where else do you think it will be and then suddenly this idea hit me. Who else in Dubai use loads of spices in their cooking? Yes our Indians friends of course- but please don't get me wrong-their food is good with all the spices and I love it too. I followed my hunch and check in one of the Indian spice stores if its available but before I did that I check for szechuan peppers other names and it's called tirpal or tripal.

The same term I used when I ask for it and the middle-aged man from India nod and smiled as he reach for  the big plastic container  of szechuan peppers. I bought 100 gms for 8 dirhams or $2.00. If you are wondering how it looks like see the photo below. Powder is not available so you'll probably need a grinder or a mortar and pestle for this. Toast it a little in an oil free pan together with other four spices I've mentioned above before grinding and you'll have that needed 5 spice powder.

Szechuan pepper has a unique aroma and flavour, it has slight lemony overtones and creates a tingly numbness in the mouth that sets the stage for hot spices.

My Yellow Bells

Carla is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai who's thankful to call this ever-evolving city her second home. The pages of this blog are filled with stories about her expat life in the sandpit. It features dining and travel adventures in and around the city and beyond. It also features food recipes, parenting tips, and fashion style.


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  1. sosyal mo teh kakatuwa, kami back to pamintang durog na, bound home na kami this may :)

    1. Hi McRich, I always used black pepper powder, buti pa kayo for good na ba?

  2. Lovely post but could you tell me the name of the Indian super market and its location in Dubai,please

    1. hi sheri, thank you very much. It is available at Al Adil Supermarket in Karama Dubai

  3. Oh i was searching for this today n couldnt find it. Thank you for the info.

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