It's no secret that I'm a fan of Sichuan peppercorns. I love the numbing sensation on the lips they provide. I'm guilty of picking recipes solely because they contain Sichuan peppercorns. Still, this recipe from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking also proves that the Sichuan peppercorns can play well with other flavors.
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This is the kind of chicken noodle soup I can get into. It's warming and comforting, with hunks of chicken meat and slinky noodles suspended in a rich stock. But this isn't some bland rendition. No, this soup is imbued with the haunting aroma of star anise and cinnamon, and tickled by the numbing sensation of Sichuan pepper. A sprinkling of chopped chile completes this assertive bowl of soup, which comes together surprisingly fast.