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Sichuan peppercorns are technically not peppercorns but dried berries from the prickly ash shrub, and are essential to Sichuan cuisine. They deliver nuanced heat along with a numbing and tingling sensation.
- ¾ cup duck fat or olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. gochugaru (coarse Korean red pepper powder)
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sichuan peppercorns, sometimes called wild pepper and sansho peppercorns, are available at Asian markets and some specialty foods stores.
Toast Sichuan peppercorns in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely grind in a spice mill or finely chop; set aside.
Heat duck fat in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (do not brown), about 5 minutes. Add gochugaru and Sichuan pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 3 minutes; let cool.
Mix in scallion, cilantro, mint, lime juice, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.