Xinjiang Spice Blend is an Asian spice blend that might not be as well known as say Chinese Five Spice, but if you like warm, earthly flavors, especially on grilled or blacked meat, then this is your new favorite. Toasted cumin and red Szechuan peppercorns work their magic and star in this easy to make spice blend.
This Xinjiang Spice Blend is made with some pantry spice staples you probably already have on hand, along with red Szechuan peppercorns. This central Asian rub typically is used in Yangrou Chuan (
The red Szechuan peppercorns are not hot or pungent like black or white peppercorns. They literally make my mouth water, always wanting more. It’s like the feeling you get when drinking something carbonated, that tingling sensation.
They have a slight lemon overtone and a wonderful aroma. Seek them out at your market or local Asian market like Ranch 99 here in San Diego or online.
I was first introduced to this spice blend when we were in Beijing a few years back. It was the spice blend that was covering the delectable char grilled lamb kebabs we snacked on the second day we were there checking out the back streets around our hotel.
Xinjiang-style grilled lamb is typically served on skewers and is a street snack in Northern China, Xinjiang to be exact, and borders Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
What we do is buy lamb loin chops from Costco and cut the meat off the bone. With a little melted butter and a few tablespoons of my Xinjiang Spice Blend, the meat is tossed to coat and into a scorching hot pan to sear and caramelize. The aroma is off the hook good, although I recommend turning on the air vent!
Xinjiang Spice Blend
- 1/4 cup cumin seed
- 1 tbsp red Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 tbsp dried Szechuan chile flakes (See Note 1)
- 2 tbsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp ginger powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- In a small sauté pan over medium heat toast the cumin seeds until lightly browned. Set aside. Toast the Szechuan peppercorns until they start to give off a fragrant aroma. Set aside.
- Grind Sichuan peppercorns, cumin, chili flakes, black pepper and salt in a clean spice grinder (See Note 2) until powder in form.
- In a small bowl whisk together with ginger, garlic and chili powders. Store in an airtight container.
- If unable to get Szechuan chile flakes substitute red pepper flakes.
- I use an old coffee grinder.