Sunday, 17 May 2020

The Close Season Zander Quest Pt.154 – Quinquagenarians and Qing Dynasties

Now capsaicin isn’t the only fiery compound that can elicit unique physiological responses. On the other end of the spectrum is a compound known as hydroxyl-alpha sanshool, commonly found in Bungaenum peppercorns.


This variety of peppercorn is commonly grown in the Sichuan province of China, and is referred to as the Sichuan peppercorn. The characteristic “flavour sensation” one might experience when eating Sichuan cuisine is a mind-numbing spiciness.


For this years batch of cheesepaste for winter Chub, I've added copious amounts of the pepper as I'm sure it will be a valuable addition to the other ingredients that make up ones pungent paste. Sichuan pepper has strong and pleasant aroma which I'm sure they will like and the lip tingling sensation something rubber lips would enjoy

Over two hundreds volatiles have been identified that are responsible for its citrus, woody, spicy notes. Due to its desirable odour quality, Sichuan pepper extract has been used in fine fragrances creation as an accent touch. 

Sichuan pepper is also a widely used spice in Chinese cuisine. It provides a unique flavor with tingling and numbing sensation and is commonly paired with chilli pepper to create Mala flavor, which literally means numbing and spicy.

Now this dish, also known as Kung Pao chicken, has the curious distinction of having been labelled as politically incorrect during the Cultural Revolution.

It is named after a late Qing Dynasty (late nineteenth century) governor of Sichuan, Ding Baozhen, who is said to have particularly enjoyed eating it , gong bao was his official title

One of my own creations to get the fix !!!!
No one can quite agree on the details of its origins: some say it was a dish Ding Baozhen brought with him from his home province of Guizhou; others that he ate it in a modest restaurant when he went out in humble dress to observe the real lives of his subjects; still others, rather implausibly, that his chef invented the finely chopped chicken dish because Ding Baozhen had bad teeth.


Gong Bao chicken is great to look at, a medley of chicken flesh (thighs best), golden peanuts and bright red chillies. The sauce is based on a light sweet-and-sour, pepped up with a deep chilli spiciness and Sichuan pepper that will make your lips tingle pleasantly.

The problem is to appease the western palate most Chinese restaurants and supermarket kits in this country serve up poor imitations, most without Sichuan Pepper, how does that work ? that should be a given.


The ingredients are all cut in harmony, light soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, the chicken in small cubes and the spring onions in short pieces to complement the peanuts. The chicken should be just cooked and wonderfully succulent, the nuts are added at the very last minute so they keep their crispness.


I must admit as a chilli lover, Sichuan Peppercorns really are quite addictive because they are rather unique.

That's good for me as the Wife who struggles with anything spicy means when I've knocked up a Kung Pao she gets a mere dusting of Sichuan Pepper, I get the proper hand shake, and another shake for the road before I dump on a load of thinly sliced red chilli.


You will probably have most of the ingredients in your larder if you use this kit. A simple dish to make and very close to the real thing. The cucumber really is a nice addition too, it's what I've been doing for a while when I make mine. Go on give it a go, you might become addicted like I have become.

Anyway back to the task in hand, canal Zander.

I'd only got Roach with me for this session I'm out of smelt which I've more confidence with especially when the water is nice and turbid. Probably 6 inches of visibility for this morning session.


Back to the waiting game, this mornings session very tough indeed. A couple of anglers were leaving after doing an overnighter had caught, but nothing to write home about.

It's a nice stretch this and Zander are in numbers if you stumble upon them, but bite can be few and far between. A good wander is a must and again 10,000 steps covered quite easily.

There didn't appear to be many fish moving however a dropped run in the second swim that's about as exciting as it got on the Zander front.


They were just not there, or just not interested, I'm probably a month or six weeks too late for the most productive time in the closed season as when it's cold they layup and don't do a fat lot but will happily take a bait if it lands on their head.

Now it's mild with plenty of baitfish to feed on it can be hard just to get a bite, finding that feeding spell is the key. A lure for sure might have been the better option and I might give a shad a chuck or two in the coming sessions I've got planned.

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