Jiao Yan (pronounced "gee-yow yawn"), is also called jiaoyan, jiao yan seasoning, or yan jiao.
What Is Jiao Yan
A classic Sichuan spice blend, Jiao Yan means "peppery salt". It's sprinkled over the protein ingredient toward the end of the cooking process to create a distinctly spicy, salty taste. This blend is also known as "Sichuan peppercorn salt" or "Sichuan pepper salt".
Salt and pepper preparations are pervasive in Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in the U.S. that serve fried chicken, pork ribs, shrimp and squid. Typically the meat is lightly coated in a mixture of salt and either ground black or white pepper (due to their lower cost), which imparts an intense, zingy sort of flavor. In Sichuan, China they do not use black or white pepper but instead use this salt and Sichuan Peppercorns blend as a dip, especially with steamed chicken.
The History of Sichuan Cuisine
Sichuan has been called "Heavenly Country", because it has long had a plentiful supply of food and natural resources. Sichuan cuisine first gained prominence more than 800 years ago during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279) when Sichuan restaurants were opened in Lin’an (modern day Hangzhou), the capital city of Sichuan.
Chiles peppers were introduced into China during the late 15th century or early 16th century via the Silk Road. The chiles gained favor first in China's western provinces, including Sichuan, as they were quickly embraced into the local cuisine.
This cuisine is complex and includes seven basic flavors including aromatic, bitter, hot, pungent, salty, sour, and sweet. In Sichuan food, a single flavor is rarely used, with the use of compound flavors common. The warm spice and citrusy aroma of Sichuan peppercorns can be totally addictive as it produces a tingly numbing sensation and when paired with fiery chile peppers, is called 'ma la' - ma (Sichuan Peppercorns), la (red chiles) - and while it is included in many Sichuan dishes, it should rarely dominate. Balancing all seven flavors is key.
Salt works hard to enhance the sweetness of a dish while playing down bitter flavors. A dish is only "salty" when too much has been added and the other flavors are dominated. Add just the right amount, and you won't taste salt at all. Rather, a pungent quality is added to the dish with every flavor being intensified and the food will taste nicely balanced.
What Does Jiao Yan Taste Like
Intense flavor that is salty and slightly numbing.
What Is Jiao Yan Used For
In Sichuan you will find street vendors serving deep fried shrimp topped with Jiao Yan. Use to season chicken (fried or steamed), pork ribs, and seafood.
Use anywhere that you would use salt. This blend is excellent on many dishes. It is perfect as a finishing spice and tastes incredible with root vegetables, soups, stews, and even popcorn. Use it in Asian-inspired stir fry dishes and on eggs. It is even good on cheesy dishes, like fettucine alfredo or hearty baked macaroni and cheese.
|Ingredients||Salt, and Sichuan peppercorns|
|Also Called||Jiaoyan, jiao yan seasoning, or yan jiao|
|Recommended Uses||Beef, chicken, popcorn, pork ribs, root vegetables, seafood, soups, and stews|
|Flavor Profile||Intense flavor that is salty and slightly numbing|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||6-12 months|
|Country of Origin||USA|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Non-GMO|
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Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*