Sichuan pepper is a member of the prickly ash family similar to sansho pepper. It is not related to chili pepper or black peppercorns despite the name. The flavor of Sichuan pepper is lemony with a distinctive numbing effect on the tongue. This unique numbing sensation can be used to enhance and improve the spicy flavors. Sichuan pepper is almost always paired with spicy peppers in Chinese cooking to make mala (numbing-spicy) flavor.
Uses: Sichuan pepper should always be cooked in oil first to bloom the flavor and make an infusion. Use this flavorful oil to add a new dimension of flavor to your dishes.
Sichuan peppers are used only for the husk. A high quality sichuan pepper has little to no black seeds, little stems, and an intense aroma.