Wok-Fried Asparagus

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, pencil-size or medium
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns, or use black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon grated garlic
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 to 2 bird’s-eye chiles, thinly sliced, or use serrano or Fresno chiles
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 green onions, slivered
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Snap off and discard bottoms of asparagus, then cut into 2-inch pieces. (Halve thicker pieces lengthwise first.)

Set a wok over high heat and add vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add asparagus and season lightly with salt. Stir-fry for a minute or so, then add Sichuan pepper, five-spice powder, garlic, ginger, sugar, chiles, soy sauce and walnuts. Continue cooking over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing to coat well, until asparagus is cooked but still firm and bright green. (It will continue to cook a bit off the heat.)

Transfer asparagus to a serving platter and drizzle with sesame oil. Sprinkle green onions over the top and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

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