from the genus Zanthoxylum
Country of Origin: Taiwan
Sichuan pepper should not be confused with black or white peppercorns harvested from the vine of the species Piper nigrum. Sichuan pepper comes from the small trees of the genus Zanthoxylum, also called prickly ash trees. The berries are harvested when the are reddish brown and then they are left to dry. When the berries are dry, they are split open to remove the bitter seeds from inside.
Sichuan pepper has a unique lemony taste with notes of citrus peel. It has a woody fragrance with a pungent taste that leaves a tingling numbing sensation in the mouth caused by the molecule ""hydroxy alpha sanshool"" which is present in the plants of the Zanthoxylum genus.
To achieve the best of Sichuan pepper, the berries are best dry-roasted to release their aromas, and then crushed. They should be added at the end of every recipe.
In Asian cooking, Sichuan pepper is used to enhance the taste of soups, chicken, duck and pork. Sichuan pepper is good with grilled or roasted meat but also with fried vegetables or vegetable stews.