These peppercorns are somewhat sweet-tart and impart an anesthetic quality that has got to be one of the most unique and pleasantly shocking experiences in the culinary world. This pepper is quite aromatic but not very hot. Before Asian cultures were introduced to chili pepper, Szechuan pepper was used along with ginger to give heat to many dishes. The heat in modern Szechuan cooking comes instead from red chili pepper (capsicum annum), introduced to Asia in the 15th century. Szechuan peppercorns make an interesting garnish to salads and cream sauces and are necessary to many traditional Chinese recipes such as five spice.
Cuisine: Chinese & East Asia