Some while ago, while shopping in Monterey Park California; at the 99 Ranch Market I found a bag of Sichuan or Szechuan chiles. I saved the seeds and last spring planted 5 seeds. Only one plant sprouted and as of October 3rd, 2008, I had three chiles ready to pick. One ripe red and two green. They are all under an inch in length and less than one-half an inch in diameter. The red one tasted sweet, hot, fruity and hot! I ate about one-third of it. I'm saving those seeds and trying again, this springtime.
These are the best chiles to use for Kung Pao Chicken. As there is no need to improve on Fuschia Dunlop's recipe, may I suggest you try it?
December 24, 2008.
99 Ranch Market did not have authentic Szechuan chiles today. I believe this to mean that they no longer carry them.
In the same neighborhood, I found some authentic Szechuan chiles (spelled: chilli on the bag). 100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces of chiles were $1.29.
The brand name is: Fishwell. Odd but sometimes the Chinese give odd names.
The market(s) are:
The Hong Kong Supermarket of Monterey Park
127 N. Garfield Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
The Hong Kong Supermarket
137 S. San Gabriel Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
The reverse of the bags of chiles gives:
Chongqing Fish Well Preserved Vegatable (Group) Co., Ltd.
No. 98 Waimao Road
Wanzhou District, Chongqing
http://www.cqyg.com (all Chinese)
The US Importer is:
AA USA Trading Inc.
90 Dayton Ave.
Passaic, NJ 07055