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Salt-and-Pepper Shrimp (Ground Szechuan Peppercorns)

Mildly hot, Szechuan pepper contributes subtle notes of citrus and woodsy spice to these stir-fried shrimp. Szechuan peppercorns are actually dried berries from the prickly ash tree and are not related to black pepper. The shrimp make perfect appetizers for a family-style gathering or a big party.


  • 2 lb. shrimp in the shell
  • 1 tsp. ground Szechuan pepper
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil  
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Lemon wedges for serving


In a bowl, stir together the shrimp, 1/2 tsp. of the ground Szechuan pepper and 1 tsp. of the salt. Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat and pour in the oil. Add the garlic, the remaining 1/2 tsp. ground Szechuan pepper and 1 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends, by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm (Oxmoor House, 2008).