Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum spp.) produces a tingling numb sensation that is essential for the flavour of Chinese dishes such as mapo tofu and Chongqing hotpot. It is also a component of Chinese five-spice powder. Sichuan pepper is not related to either black pepper or chili pepper. Instead it is the fruit of a scruffy looking small spiny tree that is distantly related to citrus. As well as the fruit, the leaves and bark of Sichuan pepper are aromatic. Several species in the genus are called Sichuan pepper and other species in the genus are used similarly in countries from Japan to the Himalayas.
Why not try using Sichuan pepper to make your own Chinese five-spice recipe using the recipe below?