There’s sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. And then there’s Sichuan Pepper.
But it’s not the pleasing, citrusy flavor that sets this spice so far apart from all the others; it’s the simultaneous numbing, tongue-tingling, party-in-your-mouth sensation that you experience from trying even one of these small, russet-colored spices.
Sichuan Pepper – otherwise known as Szechuan Pepper, flower pepper, anise pepper, hot pepper, or Chinese pepper – isn’t actually related to pepper at all. It’s a dried berry from a prickly ash tree. The bitter, inner black seed is removed, and the fragrant reddish-brown husk is used whole or ground in Sichuan cuisine.
Match up our Sichuan Pepper with dried chili peppers to make spicy Sichuan dishes at home such as Kung Pao Chicken, Ma La Tofu, and Dan Dan Noodles. Or try using the spice for marinating chicken, pork, or beef.