What is Szechuan Peppercorn

What is Szechuan Peppercorn? And Why You’ll Love It!

Szechuan, Sichuan or Szechuan peppercorns are unique in the realm of spices. Picture a unique lemony and spicy taste that causes a rare sensation in your palate, which although unusual, is incredibly pleasing.

If you’re wondering what is Szechuan peppercorn, let us tell you what it’s not: The Szechuan peppercorn is not spicy like a hot pepper, and it’s not pungent like black pepper. Instead, it’s numbing, and the sensation is addictive!

Widely used in China, India, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and surrounding countries, this spice is truly exciting to cook with, a fantastic spice for creative cooking, the key element in traditional Chinese food and a beneficial addition to your diet. Here’s all you need to know about the Szechuan peppercorn.

What is the Szechuan Peppercorn?

What Is The Szechuan Peppercorn?

Chili peppers are fruits and are related to tomatoes. Black pepper is actually a berry. Szechuan peppercorn, which means ‘flower pepper,’ is the husk of a seed; it’s easily recognizable when whole because it looks like pebble-sized, pinkish-red hollow shells.

Several Szechuan peppercorn varieties exist, all members of the Zanthoxylum schinifolium or mastic-leaf prickly ash family, and they’re all related to citrus fruits.

The numbing spice is so famous, it’s one of the legendary Chinese 5 spices together with clove, cinnamon, star anise and fennel. The spice is available as whole seeds, in powdered form and a Szechuan oil is available too. (see how to grind it here)

It comes as no surprise that the spice is critical in Szechuan cuisine, in Southwest China, where the flavors are bold, and the food is aromatic and colorful.

Szechuan Peppercorns Health Benefits

As with most other Chinese ingredients, people use the Szechuan pepper in both the kitchen and as a remedy for several ailments. It’s part of the country’s vast repertoire of traditional medicinal compounds. Here are the spice’s most common medicinal uses.

The most apparent use of Szechuan peppers is their numbing effect. The plant is known as the “toothache tree” since it’s used to ease toothache, sore gums and throat.

Consuming Szechuan peppers is inversely related to inflammation and might have analgesic effects and could prevent hypertension and joint pain.

Szechuan peppers appear to aid digestion, too, and can treat maladies including gastritis, stomach ulcers and diarrhea.

A strong case is building to back up antimicrobial effects in bio-active molecules proper of Szechuan peppers, which could lead to treating bacterial and fungal infections. The spice could have potential uses in food preservation as well.

Szechuan Peppercorn Nutritional Value

Health benefits

Szechuan peppercorns are excellent sources of antioxidants in the form of alkaloids and flavonoids, but researchers have identified over 140 distinct compounds in the spice.

Szechuan peppers are an adequate source for vitamin A, that aids your vision and immune system; carotenes, that work together with vitamin A; pyridoxine (vitamin B6), which improves your mood and promotes brain health; and thiamin (vitamin B1), that keeps your kidneys and nervous system healthy.

As for the most important minerals present in the Chinese spice, manganese, phosphorous, copper, iron, potassium, zinc and selenium stand out.

Is the Szechuan Peppercorn Banned?

The US banned Szechuan peppercorns from 1968 to 2005, but not because of any health concerns for humans. The seeds, leaves, and bark were prone to carry a bacteria dangerous to citrus trees.

The numbing peppercorns have no associated health risks and can now be imported from any major country on earth. That’s splendid news because there are no substitutes for the piquant sensation Szechuan peppercorns add to food.

Cooking with Szechuan Peppercorns

Culinary uses for Szechuan peppercorns differ, but the spice is often slightly toasted before use and added at the end of the cooking process.

Perhaps the most popular dish featuring Szechuan peppers is the Chinese hotpot, but it can make its way into baking treats and sweets, too, especially in the Szechuan region.

The popular Tibetan meat and vegetable dumpling called ‘momo’ is also lifted by Szechuan peppercorns’ spiciness and citrus flavors. The Szechuan infused oil is widely used as a condiment and seasoning agent for dishes that go from duck to pork and from chicken to tofu.

Szechuan Peppercorns Are Your New Ace Up Your Sleeve

Szechuan peppercorns’ almost electric sensation is an unforgettable experience and a thrill for those unfamiliar with the Chinese spice. A little goes a long way, and there are few proper substitutes.

Experience Szechuan peppercorns, cook with them, and make them part of your meals. Your friends and family will never guess what’s that sensation, only describable as exciting.

Authetic Szechuan Peppercorn to buy with stong flavour, check this out

If you can wait patiently then take a look at the Organic option of Szechuan Pepper

Highly Rated – Social Media Chatter on Szechuan Peppercorn

#foodprep; Een #szechuancuisine stijl #aubergine met #szechuanpepper. Internationaal eten voor de #herfstvakantie

#bento #bentobox #ikeabakjes #ikea #beterdaniglo #tiffinlunch #tiffin #1xafwassen #plingmaaltijd #khaanekadibba #खानेकाडिब्बा #24kitchen #njamtv #njam #miljuschkawitzenhausen #gordonramsay #jamieoliver #vegan #veganism

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Here’s another rice thief … mapo tofu.

This is hongsta_gram’s rendition from his cook book ‘Mr Hong’.

Unsweetened soy milk is seasoned with white soy sauce (say what?!) and combined with whole eggs to create the steamed egg tofu base. On top lies a layer of that spicy Sichuan pork sauce that we all know and love about mapo tofu.

She’s delicate. She’s silky. She’s salty and also packs a mightly hit of spice. Don’t even suggest umami because it’s an unwritten given when you see what has gone into the making of the sauce.

I love how this dish is served and eats. Would you give this mapo tofu a go or are you on team classic?

gooraliefreerangepork for the pork mince
chilligasm for the chilli oil
asiangroceronline for everything else
house.online for the alex.liddy Aquis bowl (safe for steaming my egg tofu base)

#mapotofu #tofu #eggtofu #steamedeggtofu #tofu #pork #porkmince #groundpork #spicy #salty #umami #ricethief #Sichuanpepper #Szechuanpepper #dobanjian #spicybeansauce #Chinesefood #doubanjiang #garlic #ginger #chillioil #chilli #homemade #homecooked #homecooking #mrhong #danhong

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The lovely fresh foliage of Zanthoxylum piperitum #山椒 #sansho in its native #floraofjapan also native to Korea and east Himalayas). Sanshō pepper has a milder citrus flavour and less of a numbing effect than the more widely known #szechuanpepper It was a rite of passage to sample the ‘berries’ of the various #zanthoxylum species held in the #hillierarboretum when I was an apprentice. They contain the phytochemical hydroxy-alpha sanshool, which stimulates neurons to produce a similar effect to local anaesthetic! My colleagues made sure I experienced the sensation fully as a sip of water after eating the fruit creates a short-lived effect of a mild electric shock on the tongue! The young shoots and leaves #木の芽 herald spring in Japan, and often garnish grilled fish and soups. It’s main use is as a peppery spice #konazansho #unusualedibleplants #botanisinginjapan #rutaceae #山菜 #sansai #ediblethebook ...

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  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan_pepper
  • www.thespicehouse.com/products/sichuan-peppercorns
  • https://www.thespruceeats.com/sichuan-peppercorn-info-694248
  • https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/prickly-ash
  • https://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/food/article/The-Szechuan-peppercorn-is-back-after-a-long-term-1265515.php
  • www.healthbenefitstimes.com/health-benefits-of-szechuan-pepper/

4 thoughts on “What is Szechuan Peppercorn

  1. Szechuan peppercorns are amazing. I just made a Szechuan beef dish, where I did 1 to 1 Szechuan peppercorns and a mildly bitter pepper like chinese pepper. Throw it into a spice grinder, add a little cayenne to taste, and add that to beef with a soy glaze and some beef base. Nothing else for the main dish. I added some cabbage and scallions and had it over rice.

  2. I have often seen Szechuan Peppercorn in the supermarkets and other specialist stores and wondered about its flavour. Your post has helped me to understand it so much better.  I love spicy food and I also enjoy the flavour of lemon, so the fact that it combines both flavours with a lemon and spicy taste is a real bonus.  But the fact that I have to be cautious now with hot peppers, this may well be the solution, as it is not as hot as hot pepper. The fact they are fruits was interesting and they have health benefits too! Wow, I shall be adding this to the shopping list for our next visit. Do you recommend sprinkling them onto fish during baking or after when it is served?

  3. I love Szechuan peppercorn. I have not cooked with it myself however. I knew the owner of a India restuarant in Arizona and the conversation came up one day of what the different spices were that she used. This Szechuan peppercorn was one of them. My friend explained the versatility of this spice. Did not realize it was banned at one point in the U.S though I am sure glad it was lifted. So glad to see Amazon carries this.

    1. Thank you so so much. Let us know if there any other particular spice you would like to know more about.

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