A world first?

Sekerci Cafer Erol

While I was in Turkey, my friend Aylin took me to a marvellous sweet shop in Kadıköy – Sekerci Cafer Erol, an old family business specialising in lokum (Turkish delight) and pulled sweets in all kinds of exotic flavours. The proprietor, M. Nurtekin Erol, let us taste various things, including some experimental lokums made with flavourings such as Turkish coffee and black pepper.

Of course I’d arrived in Istanbul with a small supply of Chinese cooking spices, just in case, and so I returned to the shop a few days later with a pot of top-grade Sichuan pepper from my friend Yu Bo’s restaurant in Chengdu. I thought they must have fun playing with it, and told them a little about its uses in Sichuanese cookery.

To my surprise and delight, they called me soon afterwards to tell me that they’d made up a batch of Sichuan pepper lokum and wanted to give me some. So I went back to Kadıköy and tried it – somehow they had brought out the fresh, floral, citrussy aspects of its scent and flavour, and it also had the slightly numbing effect on the mouth that you might expect. Has anyone tried this before? Somehow I doubt it!

I took a boxful of this revolutionary lokum to the Oxford Food Symposium and offered it around to general approval.

Has anyone out there tried any other unusual experiments with Sichuan pepper?

8 Responses to “A world first?”

  1. Aylin

    I posted this in my facebook as Turkish-Chinese fusion, not the first interaction between these two culinary cultures, but definetely the first lokum with Sichuan peppers in history!

  2. Mr Wozencroft

    I use a few roast, ground, Sichuan peppercorns in my italian tomatoe sauces. I use them in butternut squash ravioli with ammareti biscuits.And they are great in a dark chocalte fondant with salt and chilli. Roast porkbelly also… ahhhhh….

  3. James in Beijing

    I would love to know how they made that! I once made vanilla ice cream and put it in a container that had been used for a Sichuan-pepper laden dish of leftovers. There must have been some lingering Sichuan pepperiness in the container, since the ice cream had a subtle kick that was absolutely splendid!

  4. Aylin

    Ice cream with Sichuan peppers! That is a very good idea. Fuchia, you have to persuade Robin Weir to experiment on this..

  5. James in Beijing

    I just had dinner at Mosto in Beijing, and my dessert (of molten chocolate cake, erroneously called “souffle” on the menu) was accompanied by Sichuan pepper ice cream. No numbing effect, but the flavor was unmistakeable, and not bad.

  6. Carmen

    Just this past weekend I made pizza with Sichuan peppers and it was delicious.

    I first read about Sichuan peppers in Shark’s Fin and I first tasted them during my trip to China this past summer. Now I can’t get enough!

  7. James

    Everything OK? Or did the Turkish authorities mistake the peppercorns for hash, and you’re starring in your own Midnight Express?

  8. tasteofbeirut

    Interesting! I am so glad I stumbled on your blog, especially since I am going to be in Istanbul in a couple of months!

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