Originating from the Sichuan province in China, Red Szechuan Peppercorns have a unique, mouth-numbing flavor that makes them a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine. These peppercorns are actually not related to black pepper at all but come from a type of prickly ash tree. In Chinese medicine, Szechuan peppercorns are believed to have warming properties and aid in digestion.
When used in cooking, Red Szechuan Peppercorns have a citrusy and slightly floral taste, with a distinct tingling sensation that leaves the mouth feeling numb. They are often used in stir-fries, marinades, and sauces, and are a key ingredient in the famous Szechuan peppercorn oil.
To use, toast the peppercorns in a dry skillet until fragrant, then crush or grind them with a mortar and pestle. You can also add whole peppercorns to infuse the flavor into soups or stews, removing them before serving.
Try using Red Szechuan Peppercorns in a classic Kung Pao Chicken recipe or add them to a spicy noodle dish for an extra kick of flavor.