Does anyone know what the little black pieces are in Hunan chicken?
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They could be crushed szechuan peppercorns.
I agree with monkeymom. Szechuan peppercorns are the husks that surround the seeds of the chinese prickly ash tree. Not really a peppercorn but they enhance the tingling sensation from hot spices and such. Hence their popularity in spicy Chinese foods.
Ahhh...they always seemed bean like to me so I avoided them. Thanks guys!